Special Report

July 28, 2015

Delphi is aware of the Cyber threats, Exclusive Interview with Simon Yang, President of Delphi China

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Written by: Suhail Nasir
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Guest Profile… Dr. Yang is the President of Delphi China and the Managing Director for Delphi Connection Systems Asia Pacific. Dr. Yang started his career with Delphi in 1995 as a connector design engineer in Ohio. Over the next several years, he served in a number of roles including production foreman, tool engineering supervisor and engineering manager. In 2003, Dr. Yang relocated to China to set up the connection systems operations in Asia. During this time, his roles included regional engineering director, Shanghai plant managing director, and director of global tool operations for Delphi Connection Systems. Since 2008, Dr. Yang has taken over all managerial responsibilities for Delphi connection systems and electrical centers business in China, Korea, Japan, India and ASEAN region, and oversees various operations in these international epicenters, including sales, engineering, operations and finance. In addition to heading Delphi’s key product business units in Asia Pacific, Dr. Yang was named the President of Delphi China in early 2014. As the President, Dr. Yang coordinates Delphi’s overall business in the world’s fastest growing market by overseeing Delphi’s 23 manufacturing sites and 3 technical centers across China. Delphi has 26,800 employees, including 3,000 engineers in China under his direction. Dr. Yang earned a bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering and a master’s degree in Materials Science and Engineering from China’s top institution, Tsinghua University. He also holds both a master’s and doctorate degree in Mechanical Engineering from the State University of New York.

Mobile World: This year Delphi kicked off a first-ever coast-to-coast automated drive technology road test. What were the relevant preparations? What types of difficulties were encountered?

Simon Yang: Delphi recently completed a very successful coast-to-coast automated driving test in the U.S.A. spanning from San Francisco to New York City. This exciting event took place from March 22-30 and it marks the longest automated drive journey in the United States. Nearly 5,500 kilometers were covered with 99% of the drive in fully automated mode. We designed this journey to take us through numerous real-life driving challenges like changing weather, roads, terrain, traffic patterns, and so on. We were able to collect 3TB of valuable data (equivalent to one third of all of the printed materials in the Library of Congress in US). This coast-to-coast automated drive was mainly for testing the performance of Delphi’s automated drive system on the USA expressway system (including upward and downward ramp). Previously, Delphi has successfully carried out many automated tests in the urban environment. This drive was an opportunity for us to get more highway testing miles under our belt. The test was complete success with the vehicle crossing 15 states and the District of Columbia. Along the way, the automated drive vehicle encountered and successfully overcome real-world driving challenges such as traffic circles, construction zones, bridges, tunnels, aggressive drivers and a variety of weather conditions. Delphi is one of only a handful of system suppliers that can supply complete automated drive solutions today. Our automated driving vehicle is equipped with a full suite of advanced technologies and features, many of which are already on the market today, such as collision mitigation, integrated radar and camera systems, forward collision and lane departure warning. Delphi has more than 15 years of radar technology experience, launching the first in-vehicle radar system in 1999. Sales volume of our industry-leading multi-mode Electronically Scanning Radar (ESR) has now reached an impressive 2 million units.

Mobile World:Many local automobile brands in China are also conducting research in automated driving. In your view, how far away is China from an automated drive road test, considering China’s policy and infrastructure environment?

Simon Yang: The development of Chinese OEM brands is significant. Since Delphi came to China, it has been one of the company’s objectives to support the growth of the local automotive market. Delphi leveraged its own technological advantages to cooperate with OEM customers, and actively supported the development of local brands. Our customers include almost all vehicle manufacturers in the Chinese market. We divided automated drive into four stages: the first stage is driving assistance; the second stage is partial automated drive; the third stage, highly automated drive; the highest stage is fully automated drive. Progression in each stage minimizes human intervention allowing the vehicle’s automatic control ability to increase. The market now is at the stage of “partial automated driving.” Delphi’s successful coast-to-coast automated journey demonstrated Delphi’s highly automated drive solutions. In the global context, within the next 10 to 15 years, in all likelihood automated drive will gradually enter the market and become a reality. Yet we don’t have to wait that long to enjoy the benefit of the safety features – active safety technologies have already been marketed, and we believe its application in the Chinese market will grow significantly in the next several years. Delphi has successfully conducted highly automated drive road test in both urban and expressway environments. We are now making continuous efforts to optimize our solutions, reduce cost, and discern which directions we should pursue in the future so that we can offer our solutions for the market in two to three years. To achieve automated driving, consumers’ acceptance and government regulations also play an important role. Consumers must accept automated driving and be willing to spend money to buy the technology. If vehicle manufacturers feel that consumers have some worries, or the government has certain doubts, they will not integrate new technologies. So in the end it requires that society as a whole accepts this technology.

Mobile World:Internet connectivity in vehicles has become a very hot topic in China and it brings with it cyber security concerns. How does the industry tackle the risks?

Simon Yang: Indeed, the Internet of Things is very popular in recent years. As early as in 2008, Delphi made “Safe”, “Green”, and “Connected” as our target megatrends and we have focused our research and development efforts on the development of technologies that support automobile safety, eco-friendliness and interconnectivity. The result of this is that we are well positioned to support the market needs today with a rich portfolio of industry-leading technologies. Meanwhile, we are also actively cooperating with Chinese IT enterprises. For instance, Delphi will be one of the first suppliers to integrate Baidu’s CarLife in our infotainment system. Delphi’s next generation infotainment system will soon be marketed to provide interconnectivity experience tailor-made to drivers in the Chinese market. Delphi is very aware of the cyber threats associated with today’s interconnected vehicles, and we take measures to ensure a safe and secure driving experience. We have a dedicated engineering team and information technology group focused on cyber security matters. As we design our safety technologies and systems and integrate them into our customers’ vehicle, our engineers consider all aspects of an interconnected vehicle and associated embedded technology — software, hardware, and architectural elements. Cyber security concern is a complicated subject, and requires joint efforts from experts in the vehicle and IT sectors, as well as the government. We believe in the future there will be a comprehensive solution to protect the safety of motorists and vehicle information.

Mobile World:The growth pace of the Chinese automotive market is slowing down. Many large multinational companies have experienced decline in sales. In your view, has the Chinese market now come to a growth bottleneck period?

Simon Yang: In 2014, China’s GDP grew by 7.4%. Although this is a new low since 1990, the National Bureau of Statistics considered it conforms to the objective law of gear-shifting in economic growth under the “New Normal.” China’s economic development is now at a crucial strategic transit period, and is characterized by four trends: “steady growth, structural optimization, quality improvement, and improved livelihood.” Like China’s GDP, the automobile industry has also experienced a slow-down in growth. Last year the growth rate was 7.26%. According to China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, in the future the automobile industry will maintain the same growth rate with that of the GDP. This will be a “new normal” within the scope of the foreseeable future.  However, considering the factor of base expansion, the growth potential of China’s automobile market cannot be overlooked. Delphi will continue to expand its investment in China to further accelerate the localization progress.  China’s automobile market will present some new features. Firstly, the market will be further segmented. For instance, in the first quarter of this year SUV growth reached 40%. Consumers will become more concerned with the demand for high-end technologies – consumers desire safer, more interconnected and more intelligent vehicles. Another example is the internal combustion engine field. It is expected by 2024 more than half of vehicles worldwide will use Gasoline Direct Injection technology (GDi). The trend of the Chinese market will very much resemble that of the world and the GDi penetration rate in the Chinese market will also reach above 50%.

Another growth area is automobile electronics and safety field. According to industry forecasts, from 2014 to 2017 the annual growth rate of the market will reach 28%.  Delphi boasts industry-leading technologies in all these fields. We believe that with the implementation of the national strategy for “transition & upgrading” of the automobile industry on the macro level, and consumers’ robust demand for cutting edge technologies on the micro level, Delphi will come to acquire more market opportunities. We will continue to work closely with our customers and support them to produce vehicles with market competitiveness. Delphi is committed to support the growth of OEMs in both local and overseas markets.

Mobile World:With the new market situation in China, how will Delphi adjust its business strategy?

Simon Yang: Delphi will keep up with the times, guided by market needs. We will leverage our technological advantages to adapt to new market situations, and satisfy customers’ growing requirements. As early as in 2008, Delphi envisioned the three market trends of “Safe”, “Green”, “Connected”, and have made strategic readjustment to our technology and product portfolios. Over the years, we have accumulated deep technology reserves in safety, eco-friendliness and interconnectivity fields. The market development also proved that we were right. In the past several years, Delphi has been growing at 10 percentage points higher than the average market growth. Delphi is well positioned to support OEMs in both local and overseas market – we are providing strong local support to multinational OEMs and domestic OEMs, and Chinese OEMs in overseas markets. Delphi’s extensive global footprint can support the major automotive markets in the world. As China’s automotive market continues to demand technology advancements and as consumers seek safer, greener and more connected vehicles Delphi is well positioned to meet these requirements. We target to continue the growth momentum and continue to achieve above market average growth in 2015 in the Chinese market.

-Published on pages#16-18, July-2015 edition MOBILE WORLD Magazine

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