Home Technology Renault China boss makes super-premium EVs that monitor your health • businessroundups.org

Renault China boss makes super-premium EVs that monitor your health • businessroundups.org

by Ana Lopez
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There’s an ever-growing list of wearables that track people’s health, but what about a vehicle that monitors someone’s blood pressure and heart rate with smart sensors and algorithms? That’s the vision Beon Approxa young super-premium electric car startup founded by Weiming Sohthe Singaporean automotive veteran who is the current CEO of Renault China and helped bring Mercedes-Benz to China in the 1990s.

The idea of ​​tracking someone’s health in a car might sound less crazy when you consider how much time they spend driving. “Take Americans, for example. They spend 70 billion hours a year driving, which equates to 1 hour a day. That’s a huge amount of time people spend in a car because of the spacious environment,” Shaoshan Liu, BeyonCa’s lead scientist and autonomous driving leader, who also founded the self-driving startup PerceptIn, said in an interview.

“We think now is the best time to deliver this kind [healthcare] in-car services,” he added. Still, I wonder how many people want their luxury car to play the role of a GP.

But there may be a market for BeyonCa’s demographic of health-conscious, affluent consumers. While the start-up won’t announce its price range until the first model is ready to ship in a few years, Soh puts the company’s product in the same category as the Mercedes Benz S-Class and BMW 7-Series, which are generally a starting price of about $100,000.

The startup closed its Series pre-A funding round in the third quarter of this year from investors including Dongfeng Motor, a Chinese state-owned automaker. In seeking investments, the company was “simultaneously open to both financial and investment partners who would provide greater support,” Soh said.

EV as a service platform

Soh’s ambitions for smart vehicles go beyond just having AI voice assistants and autonomous driving capabilities. Software is “an important tool” for vehicles, but what will ultimately set BeyonCa apart will be its “services,” the founder said.

Liu elaborated on the vision, explaining that the industry is entering the “third” phase of EV development.

“The first phase is electrification, where you convert the car into electricity. Tesla is a pioneer in this. Then we come to the second stage of intelligence. Once again Tesla is a pioneer, and then Chinese companies are catching up. Now we’re moving into the third phase, which I think is called the ecosystem, where we’re delivering different vertical services, very deep services. Health is one of these services.”

The lead scientist further compared the future of vehicles to today’s smartphones, arguing that smart cars will be able to offer much more than driving, just as smartphones can now achieve much more than their original purpose of making calls.

BeyonCa’s super premium cars, which will be equipped with medical-grade sensors and radars, will detect the health status of the driver and passengers at all times using BeyonCa’s proprietary AI model. If the algorithms determine that the driver is no longer in control of the vehicle, smart driving kicks in. doctors can refer for further treatment if necessary.


BeyonCa will reveal the design of its first production car this spring, with mass production expected to take place in 2024. Unlike the “traditional” automakers, “as a startup, we have to get the car to market much earlier. We have to keep the market excited,” Soh said.

The company plans to ship both to its home market of China – one of the world’s largest premium car markets – and abroad. It plans to have two factories. “We are a super premium car company, so we will most likely only have two factories in the world – one in China and one outside. It could be in the Middle East, Europe or Southeast Asia,” says Soh.

Soh is building BeyonCa against economic headwinds caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has significantly dampened consumer and investor confidence around the world. But he’s not too concerned, saying that when the economy is doing well, the startup can accelerate development, but in times of economic downturn, the company simply needs to adjust its pace.

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