A few days back, i.e., on September 9, WeRide, a Level 4 autonomous driving company, held an online press conference in Guangzhou. During the press conference, the brand announced its official entry into the field of autonomous driving freight. It will start with an intra-city shipment. For this, the brand has entered a strategic cooperation with two significant firms which are Jiangling Motors (JMC) and Zhongtong Express (ZTO Express).
Nissan has been backing WeRide, and the brand has been manufacturing autonomous driving systems for various vehicles. Now, the brand has launched a level 4 unmanned intra-city freight van named “Robovan.” The new van is based on Jiangling Motors’s light passenger models. According to the video demonstration, the Robovan can be used for the same-city logistics transportation of small parcel express. And the exciting part is that it can be operated 24 x 7 without any humans. Earlier, WeRide used to test autonomous cabs in Guangzhou.
WeRide Robovan Demo Video
In the press conference, Tony Han, the founder and CEO of WeRide, Wenhui Jin (Executive vice president of JMC), and Renqun Jin (Vice President of ZTO Express) signed the agreement. The CEO of WeRide said that the three-party strategic cooperation has allowed them to explore autonomous driving freight transportation. That is by integrating technology, products, and scenarios. Further, it also helped them to jointly build China’s first level 4 freight with Jiangling Motors.
WeRide’s Robovan, which is the self-driving freight light bus, utilizes the comprehensive freight application scenarios brought by ZTO Express to jointly carry out Robovan commercial pilot operations. The WeRide and Jiangling Motors will cooperate closely to design and mass-produce the Robovan on JMC’s assembly lines. While ZTO Express will purchase WeRide Robovan in bulk. ZTO will deploy these vehicles for their logistics operations. And the three parties will work together to create a new intra-city freight ecology.
As said above, the level 4 self-driving light passenger WeRide Robovan made its debut at the press conference. According to the reports, Robovan will be based on JMC’s BEV which a light truck model from the brand. The new Robovan comes with a fully redundant chassis that equips with WeRide’s full-stack software and hardware automatic driving solutions backed by WeRide. These were accumulated in Robotaxi open operation and Robobus pre-installation mass production over the years. The rich experience from these helped the brand to enable all-day and all-weather operation in urban traffic scenarios.
According to reports, Robovan’s flexible and lightweight light passenger vehicles have inherent advantages in intra-city freight transportation. The future unmanned light passenger vehicles can release labor while achieving 24 x 7 uninterrupted transportation. Through the digital management platform, the existing freight management model will improve the automation level of urban logistics. It will help customers to send and collect goods quicker and in more convenient. It also brings efficiency, cost-cutting, and digital autonomous driving freight solutions.
More information about JMC and ZTO Express!
According to the market data, JMC takes the lead in the domestic light commercial vehicle market. As per the 2020 annual report of Jiangling Motors, the overall sales of JMC in 2020 have reached 331,098 units. The brand ranks first in domestic light passenger vehicles, second in pickup trucks, and fourth in light trucks. Further, the ZTO Express is the first domestic courier company that creates the record by listing on both the US and Hong Kong stocks at the same time. At the end of June 2021, ZTO Express has nearly 30,100 service outlets nationwide and 96 transshipment centers.
During the press conference, Wenhui Jin, who is the first executive Vice President of Jiangling Motors, adds that Robovan will redefine the new pattern of the future intra-city freight field and stimulate new momentum for innovative freight. Further, Jin Renqun, the Vice President of ZTO Express Group, also adds that ZTO has been paying attention to the application of autonomous driving technology in freight transportation in the same city. With the new cooperation, they hope that the hardware and software strengths of the three companies can be brought together to explore new intelligent freight models. It will also jointly promote the overall solution of intra-city freight automatic driving.