Autonomous trucks take off quickly in China’s trade operations


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BEIJING – Driverless trucks will help reshape China’s logistics and industrial sector, as autonomous driving technologies have taken off in the country amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

In addition, a leading company in autonomous truck technology, recently launched the first commercial freight pilot project in China in cooperation with SF Express. As part of the ongoing pilot project, Plus is operating its supervised autonomous trucks on two long-haul routes from Wuhan in China to Wuxi, which is approximately 900 miles round trip, and Changshu to Wuhan, which is 1,000 miles one way. return.

“The logistics industry around the world is undergoing radical change driven by the explosive growth of e-commerce and the demand for faster deliveries. Unmanned technology is intended to solve the critical business problems that fleets face today by keeping their operators happy and productive, reducing operating costs and meeting sustainability goals, ”said Shawn Kerrigan, COO and co-founder of Plus.

Kerrigan noted that the company has developed PlusDrive, which is designed to keep a professional truck driver in the vehicle to oversee the autonomous driving system, and which allows SF Express to optimize the efficiency of its current fleet and not not wait years for fully autonomous trucks to be ready.

Uisee, another leading autonomous driving company, said it achieved 150% sales growth last year despite the COVID-19 pandemic. By cooperating with industry leaders such as Changan Minsheng Logistics, FAW Logistics, BASF and Dongfeng Motor, the company has developed level 4 autonomous driving logistics capabilities.

Earlier this year, the company raised more than one billion yuan ($ 150 million) in its most recent fundraiser. It was also the first time that the National Manufacturing Transformation and Upgrade Fund, a 50.1 billion yuan public fund to promote the country’s manufacturing industry, had invested in a stand-alone company.

Global management consulting firm Bain & Co. said China has emerged as the world’s largest road transport market, with a fleet of more than 5 million heavy trucks and more than 14 million light and medium trucks. .

He Xiaofei, founder and CEO of Fabu, who was also the former vice president and one of the top autonomous driving experts of Chinese giant Didi Chuxing, left Didi and founded the company in 2017 and raised a sum not disclosed to Sinovation Ventures, a Leading Beijing-based early stage venture capital firm.

“Compared to driverless passenger vehicles, commercial vehicles, including unmanned trucks, follow a fixed route, for example from one warehouse to another, and move relatively smoothly,” he said. , adding that this is also one of the reasons that autonomous trucks are likely to be marketed faster than passenger vehicles.

Alex Zhang, Partner and Industry Group Head of investment firm FountainVest, said, “Autonomous driving technology will be transformational for the trucking industry by making our world safer and greener, and helping fleets to operate. drive more energy efficiently and reduce operating costs. “

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