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More than electric: Things you should know about Beijing Auto Show 2024

A car-drone combo is displayed at the Beijing Auto Show, May 3, 2024. /CFP
A car-drone combo is displayed at the Beijing Auto Show, May 3, 2024. /CFP

A car-drone combo is displayed at the Beijing Auto Show, May 3, 2024. /CFP

The Beijing Auto Show 2024, which concluded on Saturday, demonstrated the fundamental change in China's automobile market: electric vehicles are on center stage now, and their gasoline competitors are shying away from the spotlight.

But that's not the only thing we got from the show. Here are some interesting changes compared to the last show in 2020.

More green solutions

Electricity is not the only way to make cars green. There's another environmentally friendly type of car which still burns fuel, just one that isn't carbon-based.

Hydrogen cars exhaust water, rather than pollution. Though these cars are a bit less mature compared to their electric counterparts, they refuel much faster and have a longer range.

Check here for the hydrogen car models at Beijing Auto Show 2024

Smart cars, the real thing

We all know that we should never put ourselves in danger by using our phones while driving. But smartphones provide so many great features for drivers, especially map apps with real-time traffic data.

Our eyes should be focused on the road. That's why automobile engineers have been pulling their hair out trying to find the perfect way to interact with all the smart functions without looking at a screen.

With the latest artificial intelligence (AI) features, such as large language models (LLM), they finally have a great answer.

AI-enabled cars can hear and understand your words – not just a few pre-defined keywords, but any words, from "What's the weather like at my destination?" to "Remind me to bring my bag when I'm getting off."

In a word, talking to your car will no longer look silly.

Fly over the jam

You may have thought about this when trapped in a jam: what if my car could fly? Not the Flight Mode on a phone, but literally flying in the air.

One of the car manufacturers at the Beijing Auto Show managed to showcase a car that can transform into a big drone and fly away from traffic.

The Chinese government has been talking about the low-altitude economy for quite some time, and now we are finally seeing some amazing things.

The country's decision makers are treating drones as a role model for what they call the "new quality productive forces." It's possible that we can soon be zooming around cities in large drones, and forget the phrase "traffic jam" entirely.

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