How far is the large-scale commercial use of autonomous driving companies going public?

author:Beijing News

The autonomous driving industry has set off a boom in going public.

In addition to the overseas listing of autonomous driving companies such as NVIDIA and GAC Group, WeRide Zhixing is expected to be listed on the New York Stock Exchange or NASDAQ Exchange, and Zhixing Technology has also passed the hearing of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and is expected to become the "first autonomous driving stock in Hong Kong".

In fact, in the past six months, a number of companies in the field of autonomous driving have sought to go public, and intelligent driving companies such as Zongmu Technology, WeRide Zhixing, Sagitar Juchuang, and Black Sesame Intelligent have all started preparations for listing; Up to now, 12 domestic autonomous driving and related companies have clearly launched listing plans, and there are also rumors of listing of 3 autonomous driving related companies, including Horizon.

Deng Xintao, an analyst at Rock Capital, said in an interview with the Beijing News shell financial reporter that in the cold winter of the domestic equity market, only listing is the window to open future financing, so it is listed in a bunch. He further said that from the perspective of large-scale commercialization of domestic autonomous driving, there are still obstacles and long roads.

Behind the listing: "burning money" is inevitable, and profit is still a problem

The reporter combed and found that including WeRide Zhixing and Zhixing Technology, there are currently 12 domestic autonomous driving and related companies with clear listing plans, namely WeRide Zhixing, Zhixing Technology, Ruqi Travel, Saimu Technology, Sagitar Juchuang, Black Sesame Intelligence, Tudatong, MINIEYE, Zongmu Technology, Si Nan Navigation, Haichuang Optoelectronics, and Youchai Innovation.

Among them, 5 companies submitted prospectuses or signed listing guidance agreements in August, two companies submitted prospectuses in June, and 1 company each submitted prospectuses in March, April and May. From the perspective of enterprise types, from enterprises with independent autonomous driving vehicle research and development and external provision of robotaxi services to enterprises providing autonomous driving solutions, including enterprises providing autonomous driving chips, intelligent automotive chip solution companies, lidar companies, autonomous vehicle operation or navigation services, covering the autonomous driving industry chain.

A securities analyst who did not want to be named said that it was mainly due to the loss of enterprises and the continuous need for financing, which led to the situation of self-driving related companies getting a bunch of financing and listing; He further said that due to the intensification of competition from terminal car companies, the current improvement in profitability in the autonomous driving supply chain is slower than previously predicted.

The reporter combed through the performance disclosed in the prospectus of the above-mentioned enterprises and found that the proportion of loss-making enterprises was most. Specifically, the prospectus released shows that there are 5 loss-making enterprises, and 4 enterprises that have not disclosed their financial losses are unknown; Only Saimu Technology, Hitron Optoelectronics and Si Nan Navigation achieved profits, but Saimu Technology suffered losses in 2022, and the main business of Hitron Optoelectronics and Si Nan Navigation is not completely only in the field of autonomous driving.

For example, Black Sesame Smart lost 760 million yuan, 2.357 billion yuan and 2.754 billion yuan from 2020 to 2022, Sagitar Juchuang lost 221 million yuan, 1.655 billion yuan and 2.086 billion yuan from 2020 to 2022, Ruqi Mobility lost 299 million yuan, 685 million yuan, 627 million yuan and 345 million yuan from 2020 to the first half of 2023, and Zhixing Technology lost 760 million yuan and 360 million yuan and 345 million yuan from 2020 to 2022, respectively. $464 million and $2,754 million. Zongmu Technology also said in the prospectus that the unprofitable state may continue to exist for a certain period of time in the future, and may face the risk of delisting after listing.

Deng Xintao said that in the process of running the underlying data of automatic driving requires a lot of time costs and training costs, it is inevitable to constantly "transfusion", once the follow-up funds can not keep up, the running model has no way to form a commercial product, in the case of the cold winter of the domestic equity market, only listing can open the window of future financing, so they will be listed in a bunch.

From the perspective of the financing situation of the autonomous driving industry, the financing scale has been reduced. The reporter roughly combed and found that the financing scale of the domestic autonomous driving industry in 2021 exceeded 90 billion yuan; In 2022, the financing scale of the autonomous driving industry will be about a quarter of that in 2021, only exceeding 20 billion yuan.

"The current financing winter for the autonomous driving industry is certain." Deng Xintao analyzed, "It is inevitable that the industry will burn money, and the financing amount of autonomous driving-related companies is hundreds of millions, otherwise there is no way to support the training and development of models." Autonomous driving companies should choose a good subdivision scenario, not necessarily to go directly on the road, they can start from mines, manufacturing parks and other scenarios without overly complex road conditions, and realize productization and profitability as soon as possible. ”

However, he also said that profitability is still a relatively long process for most companies that actually do autonomous driving.

There is still a long way to go to scale the commercial use of autonomous driving

Autonomous driving is not a new concept, 10 years ago Audi, Volvo and other traditional car companies began to deploy autonomous driving, Baidu set up an autonomous driving team, but there is still a long way to go for large-scale commercialization.

"From the current point of view, there are also some changes in the development of the industry, it was more important to get on the car two years ago, and it should be more important to go public now, because the most important thing at present is funds, and only with funds can we ensure survival." So said the analyst. Deng Xintao added that in essence, it is important to get on the car, and getting on the car is the most important node for the business model to run through and productization; Going public is only a means of financing, and if the financing ability can keep up, listing is indeed not an urgent choice.

From the perspective of the current landing scenarios of autonomous driving technology, Wang Bo, research manager of IDC China, believes that the existing landing scenarios are already very rich, such as driving assistance for open road vehicles, as well as the control of special vehicles in closed or semi-closed scenarios such as mining areas, ports, airports, and low-speed unmanned work vehicles such as logistics and distribution vehicles.

Deng Xintao believes that the current commercial landing of autonomous driving is mainly in subdivided scenarios or subdivided areas; There is a certain commercialization in the subdivision scenario, but the entire industry is still in the early stages. In 2022, the market share of L2 new cars in China's automotive market will be about 20%.

First of all, from the perspective of cost, autonomous vehicles need to meet user expectations and have cost advantages in order to open up the market for large-scale commercial use; At present, the cost reduction of hardware solutions is still the key, such as lidar for high-level autonomous driving and relatively high cost has become an important object for cost reduction. Secondly, from a technical point of view, autonomous vehicles need to have a high degree of perception, decision-making and execution, able to cope with various complex changes in road conditions and environments, and require vehicles to stack a large number of high-precision sensors, high-performance computer chips and control systems, and the core behind this is the requirements for technology.

In addition, Wang Bo believes that autonomous driving is a long-term track, the industrial chain is more complex, and its development depends on the collaborative exploration of the entire industry ecology. He believes that in addition to technical problems such as perception and decision-making, it is also necessary to introduce regulations for autonomous driving in systems and regulations, including the division of driving responsibilities and emergency response. In addition, the autonomous driving training process involves massive data, and the corresponding data security and privacy protection are also challenges for the development of the industry.

The popularization of autonomous driving technology follows scenarios from low speed to high speed, from fixed route to area, from cargo to people, from public transportation, freight transportation, and finally to the private car market. In Wang Bo's view, in the long run, the full implementation of autonomous driving requires manufacturers and regions to reach an agreement on technical standards to ensure full collaboration and resource sharing between road units.

Wang Bo said that the autonomous driving industry is in a stable stage of development, and demand-side users are gradually accepting the driving mode of hosting part of the driving operation in the vehicle, and paying more and more attention to the experience of driving assistance functions; The penetration rate of L2 autonomous driving in China's passenger car market has increased rapidly in the past two years, and the autonomous driving industry has broad room for development.

However, the current large-scale commercial progress of autonomous driving is slower than expected. "According to the L4 minimum mileage standard of 1 billion kilometers, Tesla is currently 300 million to 400 million, and domestic Baidu is about 60 million this year. From the perspective of the industry, the domestic market is still obstructed and long. Deng Xintao said.

Beijing News shell financial reporter Wang Linlin

Edited by Yue Caizhou

Proofreading Lucie

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