The Chinese New Year’s Eve Gala was surprising as Chinese AI made an spectacular debut for 40 seconds.
At 20:09:23, the show started with an official introduction of the performance location in Guangdong.
Flying drones flew over the Hong Kong–Zhuhai–Macau Bridge, marking the sky with a heart “❤” symbol.
Immediately afterwards, the ground team started their performance in the shape of an “8”, which symbolizes fortune. Hundreds of unmanned vehicles stretched across the Hong Kong–Zhuhai–Macau Bridge.
In the water, 81 unmanned boats swept under the Hong Kong–Zhuhai–Macau Bridge. In the sky, hundreds of multi-axis unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) performed a 3D show in the shape of a dolphin.
At 20:10:03, the TV signal cut back to the CCTV studio hall in Beijing.
A showcase of China’s land, sea and air AI technologies was debuted all within a short and fast 40 seconds, marking a historic moment.
Who were the performers?
The CCTV gala did not disclose the names of the AI companies involved, but nevertheless the public learned of the participants shortly after.
Despite different car brands, technology and program providers, the fleet of cars was collectively referred to as the Apollo unmanned motorcade.
Before the official debut, reports said that Baidu will conduct the Spring Festival Gala. At the time, many people thought Baidu founder Robin Li would participate in the gala or perform an R&B show.
It turned out that Baidu showcased its Apollo platform and unmanned motorcades in the gala.
In the Apollo motorcade, unmanned cars were from BYD. Unmanned buses were from King Long Bus. Unmanned sweeper cars and logistics vehicles were from idriverplus. The laser radars were from Hesai Photonics.
Although the performance spanned an extremely short amount of time, it demonstrated their strong research and development abilities.
It was reported that Asia’s first unmanned ship base would be built in Zhuhai. The unmanned boats in the gala were made by Oceanalpha.
Founded in 2010, Oceanalpha is based in Zhuhai. It mainly develops unmanned civilian ships and technical supplies. Its products are applied in water monitoring, hydrological mapping, nuclear radiation monitoring and hydrological research.
The UAVs in the gala were from ZEROTECH. ZEROTECH was founded in 2007 in Beijing, and specializes in UAV fleet performance.
When it was reported that UAVs will be in the Spring Festival Gala, it was generally thought the unicorn company DJI would participate in the gala. DJI said it didn’t participate in the gala. They focus on UAV technology applications and consumer business.
This 40-second show epitomized the advancement of Chinese AI technologies, despite many viewers not realizing that these vehicles were unmanned.
Who else participated in the gala?
In addition to the 40-second display, other AI-related products and features also appeared in the Spring Festival Gala.
Sunway TaihuLight, the world’s fastest supercomputer, appeared in the opening video.
Shenzhen-UBTECH also participated in the performances. In its debut, UBTECH robots danced in unison. A robot dog named Jimu also made an appearance. Jimu is a customized educational product assembled by UBTECH.
UBTECH debuted at the 2016 Monkey Spring Festival Gala. At that time, 540 Alpha 1S robots assembled into a square formation to coordinate singer Sun Nan in an unified group dance. UBTECH gained fame and popularity for the show, and has since become a unicorn.
The Biggest Winner
The biggest winner of the AI show may be Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area.
The bay area consists of Hong Kong, Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Macau and Guangzhou. Its economic potential soared after the completion of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge. Tencent CEO Pony Ma publicly stated that this bay area is not inferior to Silicon Valley Bay Area, and has the potential to become a world tech innovation base.
Technological innovation has become a new label for Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area.
Before the Spring Festival Gala, unmanned vehicle start-ups Pony.ai and Xtecher launched test operations of unmanned cars. UAV company Ehang recently published a video in which the deputy mayor of Guangzhou piloted test flights of an Ehang 184.
All of these projects are at the forefront of global progress. There is every reason to believe that Hong Kong, Macau and Guangdong Province will develop faster with the help of AI. In Hong Kong, Macau and Guangdong Province, the air quality is good, the environment is welcoming and the housing costs are affordable.
The competition for GDP has begun. Likewise, the AI transformation is just beginning.