The next generation of autonomous delivery vehicles developed by Chinese shopping platform Meituan have been officially put into operation in Shunyi District, Beijing. The new delivery vehicle, which has achieved level four autonomous driving, is the fruit of a five-year exploration of the technology.
It is estimated that sometime in the next three years, Meituan will offer autonomous delivery service of food and vegetables in Beijing, Shenzhen and other locations.
“The low-speed autonomous delivery vehicle aims at providing an immediate outdoor delivery. The release of the vehicle marks that Meituan has the capacity for standardized mass production of autonomous products. In the future, the unmanned vehicles will cooperate with deliverymen to make the delivery more efficient and create a better experience for users. We will also continue to invest more in scientific and technological innovation, accelerate the exploration of unmanned distribution to improve everyone’s living quality,” Xia Huaxia, vice president and chief scientist of Meituan, said.
The new autonomous delivery vehicle represents a significant upgrade in many aspects. Its loading capacity is 150kg and the distribution speed is up to 20km/h. During the past five years, the vehicle has undergone 31 tests, including performance, durability, cold environment capabilities, rendering it capable of operating all day long and stopping in time when it senses a barrier 150 meters away. At the same time, through five dimensions of safety design, the whole safety system of prevention, supervision and post disposal has been ensured.
Before the new generation of delivery vehicles was launched, Meituan has accumulated rich experience in automatic delivery. In 2020, in order to deal with the impact of the epidemic, Meituan used the old version of delivery vehicle to finish orders outdoor.
Up to now, the service has covered more than 20 communities. A total of 35,000 orders have been perfectly completed, providing the company with rich data and operation experience for further upgrading of delivery vehicles.
Wang Xing, CEO of Meituan, said in the recent financial report communication meeting that there is great potential in the field of life services. Meituan enjoys wide business scale and a deeper understanding of users’ needs. Therefore, through the exploration of cutting-edge technology, it can provide more efficient service for customers.
Meituan has paid significant attention to innovation through industry-university-research cooperation. On April 12, the Tsinghua University-Meituan Joint Research Institute for Digital Life was established. Both sides will carry out research on the intelligent unmanned system, AI life service, intelligent transportation, high-performance computing, artificial intelligence management, digital economy and other cutting-edge fields.
On Tuesday, Meituan issued an announcement that it intends to raise nearly $10 billion by selling stock and convertible bonds. The proceeds will be used for the research and development of autonomous-delivery vehicles, drone delivery and other innovations, as well as for general corporate purposes.