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China expands AI applications to power economy

Xinhua Updated: 2022-09-27

SHANGHAI -- A number of self-driving container trucks run at the same high speed and maintain the same distance from each other on a designated lane on a cross-sea bridge in Shanghai.

The self-driving technology has been applied to the 72-km logistics loop, which includes expressways, connecting the city's pilot free trade zone and the Yangshan Deep Water Port.

Wang Rui, CEO of the SAIC Motor-affiliated self-driving solution provider Utopilot, said the company began the trial operation of a pilot program involving the combination of 5G and Level-4 autonomous heavy-duty trucks as early as in 2019.

In recent years, China has accelerated its expansion of artificial intelligence (AI) applications to power its real economy. The World Artificial Intelligence Conference, which is being held in Shanghai from Thursday to Saturday, has attracted many AI solutions providers.

Among the conference participants is automation start-up Tage Idriver. Its 5G network-based autonomous mining trucks have been used in mines in regions including Inner Mongolia, Xinjiang, Anhui and Jiangxi.

Its autonomous mining trucks could help reduce production costs in open mining areas by up to 15 percent, while improving transport efficiency by 20 percent.

The development of more self-driving scenarios has brought new opportunities, and with technological breakthroughs, more orders come, said Yu Guizhen, founder of Tage Idriver.

China has been pushing forward its construction of 5G and gigabit optical networks, fostering the internet, big data and AI sectors, and promoting the deep integration of the digital economy and the real economy, said He Qiang, a statistician at the National Bureau of Statistics.

The country had built over 1.96 million 5G base stations by the end of July, according to the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.

Industry insiders believe that the continuous expansion of digital applications from the consumption field to the production field provides a foundation for the development of AI scenarios.

China's leading AI and speech technology company iFLYTEK, another participant at the event, is helping build an AI ecosystem, with 770,000 development teams in the Yangtze River Delta region alone joining its open development platforms.

Since the first World Artificial Intelligence Conference in 2018, the event has served as a platform to promote innovation and the development of AI applications in fields such as transport, manufacturing, healthcare, finance, culture and tourism.

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