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July 18, 2016

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Home » Business » Autotalk Special

Catching emissions cheats, redesigning auto interiors

EDITOR’S note:

Internet Plus, a concept heralded in a government policy report de­livered by Premier Li Keqiang at the annual session of the Nation­al People’s Congress in March, aims to push the boundaries of China’s traditional industries into the digital age. Companies across the country are being en­couraged to adopt new concepts and new thinking ushered in by the Internet and the connected society. Shanghai Daily is explor­ing this new horizon in a series of articles examining where we are headed.

Internet plus & auto industry

When the somewhat staid tradi­tions of the auto industry collides with the creative verve of China’s Internet Plus strategy, expect the unexpected.

Like loans to car dealerships shifting from regulated banks to murky peer-to-peer lending online. Like carmakers selling Internet-powered mobility plans that may actually hurt their own auto sales. Like emissions cheat­ers detected by big data monitor­ing and automatically tagged by computers.

Sound implausible? Watch this space.

FRENCH auto-parts maker Faurecia is accelerating the transformation of its traditional businesses in emissions control and seating by adopting a “driving well-being” vision of an automobile society in the digital age.

“Our innovations focus on how to enhance mobility and contribute to the cockpit of the future for an enhanced on-board experience,” Jean-Michel Vallin, president of Faurecia China, said at the Shanghai International Auto Parts and Service Exhibition this month.

The scandals triggered by disclosure of Volkswagen’s rigging emission controls software have put the whole industry on alert. A tightening of European Union emission regulations will require lab test figures and real-life data to be closely compared.

In China, there is already a prevailing culture in commercial transport, whereby exhaust-treatment devices are tampered with to save money on maintenance. The nation’s regulators are looking at changes to legislation.

Faurecia, as the world’s biggest supplier of emissions control technology supplier, said it believes “big data”monitoring could help expose the cheats.

Mathias Miedreich, president of Faurecia Emissins Control Technologies Asia Divsion, said Faurecia has embedded sensors in its emission control products to collect data. An ideal plan is to run a real-time surveillance program through those sensors for the Chinese government to spot violations.

This idea is already working on demonstration vehicles.

A more far-out plan is to punish excessive discharges by weakening engine power till the car slows down to 10km per hour.

As cars become more “intelligent” and driving becomes more autonomous, the Internet Plus spirit will be woven into a vehicle’s fabric. China’s domestic carmakers are paying much more attention to interiors these years, said Faurecia.

Autonomous driving will lead to new-look cabins in the future. There will be a revolution in the interface between humans and machines. Cabins will feature advanced communications and information, infotainment, navigation aids and access to external applications.

Even seating will be affected, said Vallin. With sensors embedded, seats will be able to record health details about drivers and passengers. A motorist, for example, who looks to be falling asleep will be detected before an accident occurs.


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