Discover the Rising Stars №010 | Interview with Hummingbird Interactive Founder Song Hang
Alibaba Cloud Innovation Center has introduced a new column, Discover the Rising Stars, to shed light on the backgrounds of entrepreneurs and company innovations. Through interviews, live streams, and other media approaches, we will deliver valuable news stories from multiple perspectives and dimensions, to offer you the real voices of entrepreneurs and to witness the power of technological innovations.
With advances in technology, automobiles have developed into interactive environments integrating humans, vehicles and lifestyles. Vehicles are primarily for transportation, but they also now incorporate singing, gaming, puzzles and virtual test driving capabilities. In the tenth issue of Discover the Rising Stars, we interviewed Hummingbird Interactive Founder Song Hang, winner of the Excellence Award at the 2021 Create @ Alibaba Cloud Startup Contest (CACSC) & BMW Group “Internet of Vehicles” Global Finals, to talk about interactive in-vehicle entertainment and his experiences in entrepreneurship.
Shifting from Game Industry to Develop Interactive In-vehicle Entertainment
After graduating from the Academy of Arts and Design at Tsinghua University, Song Hang had a successful 15-year career as a senior software developer in the electronic entertainment industry, contributing to the conceptual design of Transformers: The Game and similar projects for several times. The core team at Hummingbird Interactive is made up of game industry veterans with over 10 years of experience in all aspects of gaming, from development and operations to big data and AI.
“In recent years, the entertainment and culture industry has suffered setbacks, and the reduction in the number of releases of domestic games has seen the game market shift overseas. At the same time, the new energy automobile market is booming and has a broad prospect. So, in 2015, we started our journey in the automotive industry, developing interactive in-vehicle entertainment based on our game experience. We’re currently focused on in-car entertainment and game content.” Song Hang explained.
The intelligence and convenience of integrating smart cars with interactive entertainment create a rich interactive automotive environment, and Hummingbird Interactive has made a big splash in the industry by leveraging its strengths to create opportunities for development and innovation.
AR Intelligent Automobile Manuals with Virtual Reality Display
Drawing on both technological expertise and practical experience, Hummingbird Interactive made significant breakthroughs in market access and qualification in 2016, gaining numerous certifications from industry associations and alliances. The company has owned a patent in spatial orientation, filed 12 software registration rights, and announced three VR-related patents pending for examination.
Hummingbird Interactive uses AR technology to transform traditional automotive-data websites into intelligent holographic data platforms and has successfully developed AR intelligent automobile manuals displayed in virtual reality images. The team drew on its vast experience working with graphic rendering and recognition technology in the gaming industry and created a system that allows users to scan the images of an automobile with the phone camera to closely view detailed, high-definition, three-dimensional models from any angle by rotating and expanding. These custom-made intelligent manuals, one for each type of car, allow users to find the instructions and using methods about their autos more easily and efficiently than paper manuals. When dealers introduce a car’s intelligent avoidance feature, for example, the intelligent manual can display a three-dimensional image showing how the car’s components make this feature possible during the process of avoidance. Hummingbird Interactive integrates multiple entertainment technologies with a car’s cockpit and has forged many industry partnerships, working on projects like GAC Group’s in-car game ADiGO WORLD, the in-car AR puzzle games for the Mercedes EQ400/c200, the Audi E-TRON concept car/VR self-driving function tests, and BMW’s VR personalized shopping.
The CACSC Raises Awareness of Technology
In 2021, Song Hang and Hummingbird Interactive participated in the Create @ Alibaba Cloud Startup Contest (CACSC) & BMW Group “Internet of Vehicles” Global Finals and took home the Excellence Award. Song said,” We met with many other outstanding auto industry companies at this year’s CACSC finals, and learned a lot about the innovation in this industry. Our technology also got a lot of exposure. We’re hoping that we can use the platform of Alibaba Cloud to secure more opportunities and keep developing more interactive in-vehicle entertainment products.”
“Taking an idea from a demo to a concept car, to mass production, and finally to widespread adoption involves the entire industry chain and takes a long time. When our ideas become reality and we see them in use, we feel proud and very emotional, because we have put in so much hard work.” Song and his team have found success in the field of interactive in-vehicle entertainment but they’re not stopping there. When asked about his advice for other entrepreneurs, Song modestly replied that his team was still young and still had much to learn from the older generation. But his advice to student entrepreneurs is to “Make sure you have a good team, solid financial backing, and that you’ve researched market demand. All three are crucial. Starting a business is not something to do impulsively, and you have to make sure you have the ability of risk resistance, enough money and social connections before you decide to proceed. You have to start by taking small steps.”
In the Internet age, every company covets traffic, and the auto industry is trying to figure out how to use cars, everyday transportation tool, to drive traffic. Interactive in-vehicle entertainment is an important part of the intelligent vehicle experience, one that includes not only the driver but passengers as well. Hummingbird Interactive is just starting down this long road to create a more convenient and comfortable journey.