In 5 years or 10 years at the latest, the vehicle industry will no longer be what we know it to be. Chinese electric cars will play a big role. Internet giants are selling mobility and hardware under their own name, and manufacturers of smartphones are also warming up. This will have an impact on users who are on the move with a digital device. Because the side effects and risks could be significant. One should ask the question of whether one would buy a Chinese electric car or at least use it. Because harmless and without monitoring in the background, that is clear, there is another way.
The internet giants are coming
The Chinese search engine is right at the front Baidu. Baidu is a giant and one of the three most visited websites in the world. The group has a platform for autonomous driving called "Apollo" ready for car manufacturers. The fact that Baidu is entering electromobility with the “Jidu” brand would be comparable to the start of a Google car for us in Europe. However, Google is still holding back and is instead equipping the cars of traditional OEMs such as Volvo with its software.
However, Baidu does not venture into the new business field without backing. The first Baidu electric car - or mobile device - of the search engine is based on the SEA platform from Geely. Geely supports the development and produces the final product. And Baidu is not alone.
Xiaomi relies on electric cars
With the IT group Xiaomi For the first time, a smartphone provider is out of cover. The first Xiaomi electric car will appear on the market in the next 3 years. The manufacturer of budget smartphones is number 3 worldwide and is still forging alliances. Who produces and where is unclear. It would be possible that Xiaomi will have an OEM manufactured on a contract basis in the future.
The auto industry's age-old fear of being degraded to a hardware supplier at some point is now taking concrete shape.
Last week there was a foretaste of what the electric cars from Chinese manufacturers can stand for. Lithuania complained about the lack of it Data security for smartphones from Xiaomi and Huawei. No surprise actually - it has been known for a long time that Chinese browsers contain censorship-supporting functions.
What is exciting, however, is the tracking and recording of up to 61 user behavior parameters that a Xiaomi smartphone could pass on to the Chinese cloud. The espionage and surveillance functions, which trigger storms of enthusiasm in every secret service, were not activated in the European versions of Xiaomi.
But there is no doubt about that, they could have been switched on remotely at any time.
Would You Buy a Chinese Electric Car?
Of course there are people who tie a smartwatch to their wrist without any criticism. I guess it's the majority. This majority is not concerned about the possibilities of surveillance; they would also buy a Chinese electric car. If the price is right, just as it fits with Xiaomi smartphones.
A modern electric car needs a 5G network to be fully functional. Something that consumes a lot of electricity, requires powerful data centers and a lot of new radio masts. Beijing recently reported over 50.000 G5 masts in the city area, and expansion is ongoing. And it also runs, more restrained, in Germany. A power-guzzling basic requirement for a new generation of electric vehicles.
Something that world savers like to ignore, that see electric cars as an escape route with no alternative.
Two data centers are under construction in my immediate vicinity. One is being built by the Internet giant Google, and another is to be built in the former Neckermann complex arise in Frankfurt. The investments are the effects of digitization and ever larger volumes of data.
The expected electricity consumption in Frankfurt will be higher than that which the entire district of Fechenheim needs at the moment.
The perfect surveillance machine
A 5G electric car is the perfect surveillance machine. It's not just about boring things like eavesdropping on passengers or their driving or internet behavior. You can measure parameters such as blood pressure, heart rate and weight of the driver on a daily basis. Who drives with whom, who stops where, who buys where and for how long? What does he pay for it, how is his credit rating developing, who are his friends, does he drive to work on time? The list of possibilities is endless, and unfortunately my imagination is insufficient.
The transparent person who will no longer have a secret can finally become a reality.
That is what the European one is for that this does not happen Privacy regulation. It is, admittedly, a not particularly sympathetic bureaucratic construct made by people who cannot have a particularly close connection to practice. But it basically prevents abuse and is intended to protect privacy. For this reason alone, it is good that it exists at all.
It is different in China. Surveillance and censorship are part of state doctrine here. Just as Chinese smartphones are naturally equipped with a monitoring function, so will electric cars from Baidu or Xiaomi. Simply because it is considered normal there and the companies cannot do otherwise.
It may be that these features will be disabled outside of China. But activation can be done remotely, the Chinese cloud is global.
The carelessness of the users
Neither Baidu nor Xiaomi have to worry about the future business model. The average user is carefree about their data. He maximally pixelates the license plate of his vehicle before posting on social media. If he does not have this ability, he covers it with a cloth. This is where his ideas on the subject of privacy end, and the fact that he is visible in public spaces with this car every day, without a potentially hidden license plate, does not matter either.
He doesn't worry about the possibilities his smartphone or smartwatch from Chinese production might have. Why should he? The device was cheap, it has the latest gadgets.
What more can you ask for?