Founded in 2015, Quanxun Spatial Intelligence provides high-level precision positioning services for customers using location data from the Chinese satellite system BeiDou, which was launched in July 2020. The company raised RMB 1 billion (USD 150 million) in an October 2019 Series A round which valued the company at more than RMB 13 billion (USD 2 billion).
In one use case, the company provides its positioning services to a bus line in Zhengzhou, Henan Province, allowing vehicles to navigate autonomously along their routes. Quanxun integrates its high precision mapping with an onboard control module to ensure the bus stops at all stations.
While BeiDou has enabled great strides in Chinese satellite-based navigation, standard GPS technology is accurate to within 10 m, and the margin for error can be impacted by environmental factors. To improve the precision of geolocation services, Quanxun operates a network of thousands of land-based signal augmentation stations. The startup refines BeiDou’s data to develop commercial applications, making it accurate to within 1 cm with just a nanosecond of response time.
When Quanxun first entered the market, finding the right use cases for the technology was not easy. Initially, it targeted local governments with smart city applications to solve pain points in urban management.
In September 2020, Quanxun released a backpack for children that would allow parents to track their children’s location to within 1 m using an app. Another project involved the removal and processing of garbage in Deqing, Zhejiang Province. Through a WeChat mini program, merchants could track the whereabouts of 43 garbage collectors and dispose of waste accordingly.
At the end of 2020, the company teamed up with Huawei Maps and AutoNavi (also known as Gaode) to provide mapping services accurate to within 1 m, which it dubbed “lane-level” navigation for drivers. Quanxun also provides this solution to a host of original equipment manufacturers like DJI, Xpeng Motors, Xiaomi, SAIC Motor, and China’s State Grid.
Quanxun is examining other application scenarios for its geolocation mapping. “For example, if there are no people or cars on the road at night, can traffic light rules be more flexible? Instead of manually counting the daily number of visitors at a park or attraction, can we find a more efficient digital solution?” Quanxun’s marketing director Yu Jiejin said.
The company uses a ground-based network of augmentation stations, together with a cloud-based platform, to provide its services. Quanxun’s founder and CEO Chen Jinpei believes this industry has only just begun to realize its potential.
“As the industry gets hotter and hotter, there will be many players in the precision services industry. We have to convince customers that Quanxun is different and demonstrate our value,” Chen said.
36Kr Connection features translated and adapted content published by 36Kr. This article was originally written by Su Jianxun for 36Kr.