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Byton’s Chung says automakers can learn from technology companies

BERLIN — Consumer electronics will play a key role in the new generation of passenger cars coming to marketing in coming years, a senior Byton executive said Thursday.

“The vehicle of the future will be a combination of consumer electronics and automotive,” Jeff Chung, Byton’s vice president intelligent car experience, told the automotiveIT Congress here.

Chung noted that the senior management ranks of the Chinese electric-vehicle start-up are filled with executives recruited from both the consumer electronics industry and from traditional automotive companies.

Byton showed a concept car at the CES exhibition in Las Vegas in early January. It plans to bring a mid-sized all-electric SUV to market in China by the end of 2019. The car will then come to Europe in 2020.

The Byton car will be ready for level 3 autonomous driving and can be upgraded to handle level 4 autonomy. It will have a range of state-of-the-art technologies on board and its systems can be upgraded over the air.

This OTA capability is crucial to the business model of Byton, Chung said. That’s because, in his view, the car can actually be improved after it has been purchased.

“With over-the-air ability, you can get user feedback, find out what you’ve done right and what you’ve done wrong and you then have the ability to correct something,” Chung said.

The Byton executive, who previously worked for Apple, said the industry can learn from technology companies “to put the user even more central in its operations.”

-By Arjen Bongard