Chinese Driverless Robovan For Autonomous Deliveries
WeRide, a Chinese driverless car company, launches the ‘Robovan’ for autonomous deliveries.
GUANGZHOU (China) — WeRide, a Chinese autonomous driving startup, has partnered up with a leading carmaker and delivery company to launch a self–driving cargo van.
WeRide will be Robovan’s autonomous driving system, JMC will manufacture, and ZTO will deploy the vehicles to support their logistics operations.
Han stated that Robovan testing will be conducted at two to three locations to improve the vehicle’s performance. After these pilot projects are complete, Robovan can then be scaled up. Han did not provide any timeline but said that he expected “tens of thousands” of these vehicles to be in service in the future.
WeRide, Jiangling Motors (JMC), and ZTO Express have formed a strategic partnership to commercialize the “Robovan,” a vehicle for urban logistics.
WeRide, a Chinese autonomous driving startup valued at $3.3 billion, is WeRide. It competes against companies like Pony.ai and Baidu. It is overgrowing, and earlier this year, it acquired MoonX.AI, an independent trucking company. MoonX had an existing relationship with ZTO Express before the acquisition.
WeRide, a Nissan-backed company, develops autonomous driving systems for different vehicles. It has been testing autonomous cabs or robotaxis since 2019 in Guangzhou, China, where it is headquartered. In limited areas of Guangzhou, the company offered the service to the public last year.
It has also been testing a self-driving bus, which it calls the Robobus. It has been able to develop the Robovan through testing these vehicles.
On Thursday, Tony Han, CEO at WeRide, stated that the “border between urban logistics vehicle and a passenger vehicle is disappearing” to CNBC. It’s an autonomous driving vehicle. It can also be used as a robotaxi vehicle if you place a seat there. It can also be used as a logistic car if you place a cabinet there.
“Both these applications [robotaxis and logistics] can share technology, and both could generate potential significant amounts revenue and profit. Han asked, “Why don’t you do both?”
Journey, one of China’s most valuable autonomous driving startups, is valued at around $3.3 billion. It competes against companies such as Pony.ai and Baidu. It was overgrowing and acquired MoonX.AI, an independent trucking company, earlier this year. MoonX had an existing relationship with ZTO Express before the acquisition.
Han said that WeJourney has been working with JMC since 2019 on logistics analysis projects. We were able to send ZTO Express as a companion when MoonX was purchased.
WeJourney’s business model will be centered around it being involved in the eventual operation of ZTO’s logistics network using Robovans. This is rather than licensing its expertise.
Han stated, “This will allow us to have recurring revenue while also getting feedback to improve our product.”