I love my summers in Traverse City. Guiyang is my second home. I think Traverse City and Guiyang should be sister cities.
The Autonomous Vehicle (“AV” or Automated Vehicle) technology is the next big thing in technology. The Big Data Valley initiative of Guiyang can jump start the creation and nurturing of a technology Village (Guiyang Tech Village) in Guiyang. The Big Data initiative has already started this process, but there is still a need for focus of the resources being created by the the Big Data initiative. AV technology requires a combination of two of the “Big Three” technology initiatives in the world, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Robotics (Biotech is the third). China and the USA are similar in that about 2/3 of GDP is consumer driven. Housing is the #1 consumer purchase, and cars are #2. The market for auto enhancements, such as AV, is massive.
These concepts are developed elsewhere on this site, but the implementation of AI and Robotics in Guiyang can use the AV technology framework. Sensors, machine learning, actuators, and decision making are all required when a car, truck, or bus is driven by a human. The AV research, the testing, and application of that research provides a concrete focus for so many of these advanced research subjects. An AV initiative in Guiyang has the potential of attracting top talent to Guiyang companies and universities.
Technology people can usually choose where they want to live, but the technology village concept multiplies the productivity of individuals. Guiyang already has the quality of life that is attractive to the young techies. See: Guiyang Top City The AV provides a focus for those techies.
The implementation plan is specific. Develop and test AV technology using existing Guiyang buses and drivers:
- Automate bus maneuvering and parking in the North Guiyang Train Station (Beizhan Gaotia).
- Retrofit existing BRT buses with sensors, actuators, and computers with cloud communication.
- Connect the BRT buses to the Guiyang Big Data infrastructure and then begin building and learning.
- Retain existing bus drivers to monitor effectiveness of the developing technologies and provide tertiary manual override in event of technology failures of primary and secondary automation. Also, presence of drivers on the buses is important for customers to feel safe.
- Initially it is essential to get “cheaters” under control in the dedicated BRT lane of the #2 Ring Road. Connect the BRT cameras to software that can identify people who break the rules against using the dedicated BRT bus lane for cars. Progressively heavy fines should be used to keep private drivers clear of the bus lane. Fine revenue can also be used to help finance AV research.
- When the “bugs” are out of the BRT automated vehicle control system, wealthy drivers should be permitted to retrofit their vehicles with AV equipment. This will allow them to return to the dedicated bus lane for high speed travel around Guiyang, taking advantage of both the dedicated bus lane and the Big Data controlled transport system.
- While Guiyang is one of the most densely populated cities in the world, with five million people stacked together on the plateau, wealthy drivers could take advantage of early AV technology to maneuver the city. After using AV on the BRT dedicated lane, they can gradually expand their range of operation to go to and from common destinations, like home and work, etc.
- As prices of AV equipment fall, more and more Guiyang people will be able to afford to enter the automated vehicle system as it gradually expands from the #2 Ring Road into the general streets and alleys of Guiyang.
- Companies that cooperate with Guiyang early in development of AV technology will be leaders in the AV industry as it expands.
- Guiyang will grow a world class technology community, the Guiyang Tech Village.
See the following links for background:
This is an interesting article about how Guizhou is in the News of the Christian Science Monitor. Here is the link:
So this is a good story about China pulling itself up with public and private partnerships. The government is selling piglets to people in poverty at attractive prices. It is a way for people improve their living conditions. I heard a disturbing story about a government program similar to this, where the people who hardly have enough to eat get livestock at attractive prices. So they are actually poorer because they have to feed the pigs in addition to themselves. Then when the pig grows up, it can’t be sold because all the neighbors did the same thing and everybody already has their own pigs. So they slaughter the pigs and eat them. Unfortunately, they can’t eat all the meat right away and have to buy refrigerators . . .
Well this is just one scenario. What we do know is that China has made massive strides in alleviating poverty in the last 30 years and it isn’t resting on it’s laurels. I don’t know if this is a good program or not. We have to wait and see. It is kind of good to see an active government trying to help the people. Let them learn by their experience (mistakes/successes). I can’t criticize.
Years ago I got hooked on China and eventually started this blog . . . I love this girl’s take on Shenzhen. She reminds me of what was like when I first came to China, about 17 years ago. Where’s Poppy is the real deal. She is pretty and pretty casual. You really get a feeling about why expats come to China and decide to stay for awhile. She talks fast, so if you are like really old, you probably should have a cup of coffee before you watch these videos. See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sxJ9TBMoAL4 and https://youtu.be/OuiAsTwq6x8 .
The 2017 Big Data Expo was a bit of everything in technology and was heavy on digital imaging (healthcare related), major database systems (Finance related) , and VR (Virtual Reality). It seemed a bit light on robotics and motion control, which is a key component of AV (Automated Vehicles). The Alibaba AV was on display in it’s Big Data Expo booth, but without promotional information, at least in English. The car looked like a regular car and just sat there. On Sunday, the staff was unavailable to answer questions about it. The 2017 Big Data Expo was a big hit.
On Sunday, the last day, there was a big line. It was boring outside in the line. Sitting on Daddy’s shoulders made it a bit more tolerable.
The exhibits and exhibitors improved significantly over the prior two Expos, which I attended. The government owned businesses were not so prominent, and booths were smaller. The visuals were extraordinary. Computer generated graphics were at their best in this conference and the English materials were generally very good, in contrast to last year. The content was much richer, even though the booths were smaller.
Participating companies are prominent in both China and the world tech industries. Many have corporate offices in Guiyang. One of the Expo sponsors, Guiyang Truck Alliance Company is a logistics company coordinating China truck deliveries. It has corporate headquarters in Guiyang, and is the “leading internet plus logistics information platform in China”. This demonstrates the commitment of China to the Guiyang based “Big Data Valley”. World corporations represented at the 2017 Big Data Expo include Tencent, Oracle, Foxconn, Qualcomm, Dell, JD.com, Huawei, and Alibaba.It is noteworthy that the term “Guiyang” was dropped from this year’s Expo title. The Expo is simply “2017 Big Data Expo”. It reflects a focus of China on Guiyang as the center of “Big Data” activity. Last year China supported several “Big Data” branded conferences, but this year it seems that Guiyang is the the only one. It is the prominent “Big Data” host. This bodes well for Guiyang based data companies.
Automated Vehicle Technology in Guiyang
The City of Guiyang has, knowingly or not, positioned itself perfectly for entry into the Automated Vehicle market. Through the creation of the BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) system connected to a State of the Art bullet train station, a publicly controlled space which can control all vehicles entering and leaving the system has been created.
The train station (Beizhan) is a multimodal transport system with cars, buses, bullet trains, and even express busses to the airport. The BRT utilizes a dedicated bus lane which is one of three traffic lanes on the Number 2 Ring Road (#2RR) which circles Guiyang through proximate suburban developments. While operating at a relatively slow speed, the BRT has reduced cross-town transit times by approximately two thirds or more, depending on traffic. There are no stop lights on the #2RR and the dedicated lane greatly reduces the traffic jams to which buses are subjected along with private vehicles. The system operates with a high degree of efficiency despite “cheaters” who are drivers that are willing to accept a large number of traffic tickets for using the bus lane for their private vehicles.
AV market has exploded in western countries, particularly Europe and the USA, with increasing interest from China and the East. With all the money and interest, widespread use of AV has been stymied to a degree by the insecurity of the public to share the road with driverless cars. While technical issues remain, the biggest obstacle to AV isn’t technical, but rather political and social. Governments are simply not willing to subject their constituencies to the perceived risk of driverless cars. Computer controlled vehicles sharing public roads private vehicles (with occasionally irrational or careless drivers) is deemed unacceptable to all parties. Nevertheless, Elon Musk, of Tesla and SpaceX fame has suggested that the safety record of computer controlled cars will display about 10 percent of the accidents of human controlled. Tesla claims that a driverless care will travel from California to New York within the year (2017).
Even more interesting, the Guiyang Big Data Expo is May 25 to May 28. Big Data is the next big thing in computer technology. The auto industry represents the second biggest consumer expenditure in the world (housing being the first). The AV technology requires more research and a good location to perfect this technology. It is a data intensive application in the world’s second biggest consumer industry. This Big Data Conference could be a “breakout” for Guiyang and the AV Industry.
The Beizhan “multimodal” Train Station has a controlled bus maneuvering area connected to a controlled ring road around Guiyang. It is an ideal physical and political environment for development of Automated Vehicles, one of the biggest Big Data applications on the horizon. This will be an interesting conference.
The BRT Bus Rapid Transit of Guiyang is a little bit like a subway, without the train. There is a ring road around Guiyang and during the construction there have been a lot of fairly substantial bus stations built in the center of the highway. Buses have a dedicated lane on the freeway and they stop at each station as if they were little subway cars. Access to the bus is restricted by sliding gate doors, not unlike what you see in the subways.
BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) might be called BART or BERT if it were in a USA city, but it is a modern, low tech, solution to a significant congestion problem. Guiyang is prospering and everybody with any feeling of upward mobility needs to have a driver license. It’s a status thing. Of course, the roads can’t keep up with the rapid increase in the volume of cars. To make things a little worse, and a lot better, Guiyang is building subways through many of the most congested areas. During the construction, over the last couple years, several lanes of traffic have been closed off. It is big, “huge” construction.
Right now (MAR 11), congestion is falling as subway construction is nearing completion and the BRT is picking up in popularity. It is my opinion that in another two years, Guiyang will be a highly convenient place to move around. Even those with cars should see some relief in congestion, but the bus/train solution is becoming increasingly competitive.
I have just rented an apartment five minutes walk from the BRT bus station (Denggao Yunshan). This has given me a lot of flexibility in travel. If I want to go to the opposite side of this five million person city (Huaguoyan), I can just jump on the bus and be there in about twenty minutes. Normally by bus it takes an hour and a half, or more and by taxi nearly an hour. You can maybe double these numbers during rush hour traffic.The BRT gets bogged down in rush hour because some dirty lawbreakers use the dedicated bus lane for their Jags and Volvos, but it will only add about ten minutes to the trip.
Transportation in Guizhou is improving rapidly. I recently went to downtown Guiyang (Guizhou Normal University) from Kaili in an hour and a half. I got on the Gao Tia (bullet train) in Kaili at 2:35 pm and traveled at an average speed of 275 kilometers per hour (170 mph) and got off at 3:15 — maybe 120 miles. I caught the 262 bus to the University at 3:30 and arrived downtown at 4:00 pm.Going to Kaili was even easier with a BRT ride of 20 minutes and a 40 minute trip via Gao Tia.
For those who want to go from one side of Guyang to the other, it’s a great solution. Going from Xintian Zhai to Huaguo Yuan can take one to two hours by bus or taxi. BRT takes 20 or 25 minutes. Bus 1 and Bus 2 go opposite directions around the circle. Bus 3 is a bit faster because it doesn’t go to the North Rail Station (Beizhan). (Bus 3 begins and ends at the “Future Ark” development.) The best way to think of the Gao Tia is like a wheel, with the old bus routes as the spokes of the wheel that allow you to go to toward the city center.
I had my tooth pulled by a Chinese Dentist today. It’s a long painful process leading up to it (finding courage), but once decided, it happens fairly quickly. One the the great fears of an American in China is having dental work. More specifically, we are afraid of having a tooth pulled by a Chinese Dentist.
The Guizhou Provincial Government has a medical college and a hospital connected to the college. It’s called the medical college hospital. have a friend that is a leader. I’ve had work done before, getting a root canal, filling a cavity, but the pulling of a tooth is another level.The dental clinic is on the sixth floor and the dental surgery is on the fifth floor. Even one of my language tapes had a reference, “Hope you don’t have to go to a dentist while you are in China.” So when I had a broken tooth I knew it had to come out.
So my friend, Dr. Ma, introduces me to Dr. Tan, who is quite a nice young lady with good English. She confirms what I knew, that the tooth needs to come out. She answers all my questions, and she knows I was more than a little frightened. I asked her if it is difficult surgery, and she said that it was very easy. It’s the right upper front molar tooth, with the pain going up into my eye socket. It took real pain before I broke down to have the procedure. They gave me some antibiotics and the appointment was made for the next day. When we parted I asked her in my best Chinese if she would hold my hand during surgery. I had to tell her I was joking before she broke out laughing. So I went into the surgery section with a lot of confidence.
The anesthetic was effective and it was actually more trouble than I expected. I’ve never had a tooth pulled, except the baby teeth that just fell out. I didn’t know what to expect. I don’t remember the name of the doctor that did the work, but she was quite small, maybe eighty or ninety pounds. She seemed to have a lot of trouble getting hold of the tooth and giving it some good yanks. The tooth was broken near the gum line. Just when I was thinking, “Oh God, I should have asked for a man.” She got the hammer out. We had a signal planned that I would raise my hand if I had pain.
Holding the tooth with a tool and swinging the hammer made a loud clang, but no pain. The other Chinese dentist kept telling me to relax. The dentist hit the tooth several times, not just a couple. She was generating a lot of power. I thought she was holding a small sledge. I suspect that one of her feet was coming off the floor during the swings, maybe both feet. Still no pain.
Finally, when she was done swinging, she went back in with the pliers and started tugging again. Then I felt some pain and I actually raised my hand. The second dentist said “Pain” in Chinese, a couple times, but the first Chinese dentist kept tugging. Two minutes later it was over. I got the tooth hole filled with cotton and there was little pain. It has been twelve hours since the surgery, and very little pain. The pain compares with a skinned knuckle. I am impressed.
So there you have it. The surgery is a total success, and I am happy the dentist didn’t stop when I raised my hand. She was almost done and knew it. She just finished the job. That pain shooting toward the eye socket is gone, and baring complications, I would say everything is a success. When I finally looked around it turns out that the dentist had more help than needed. There must have been ten doctors and nurses watching! Foreigners are still uncommon in Guiyang, especially in a Guiyang oral surgery clinic.
In retrospect, I had confidence in the place because of the root canal and crown that I had had previously. My dentist in the USA confirmed the procedure in China was the same as used in the USA. So it was a totally modern situation. To the uninitiated, it is surprising to see several dentist chairs and several doctors working together in the same room on different patients. In the USA, perhaps we are a bit spoiled with our medical privacy. Other than that, and the language barrier, things seem pretty standard on this side of the world.