China’s food delivery giant Meituan has taken full responsibility for a collision between its driverless delivery vehicle and a private car on October 9th in Shunyi District, Beijing.
The unmanned vehicle is reported to be Meituan’s Modai 20, which was released in late April. At present, all unmanned distribution vehicles operated in Beijing’s Shunyi District have been replaced with Meituan’s Modai 20 which is equipped with 3 laser radars, 19 cameras, 2 millimeter wave radars and 9 ultrasonic radars.
According to people close to the matter in Meituan, at the time of the collision, the unmanned delivery vehicle drove to the T-junction on the auxiliary road and planned to cross the road straight when the other vehicle was trying to turn right. The unmanned delivery vehicle attempted to brake but the other vehicle did not stop and hit the unmanned vehicle.
Meituan responded on October 10, saying, “After the incident, we reported it to the traffic police as soon as we could, and the traffic police finally sentenced Meituan to full responsibility according to video of the incident. We are willing to pay the compensation, but today the other party has some new concerns. We are actively communicating with each other.”
According to the “Road Traffic Accident Certificate” issued by the owner, it can be seen that Meituan’s unmanned vehicles are treated as “motor vehicles”. Meituan believes that this is the main reason why it was judged to be fully responsible, because motor vehicles are not allowed to drive on this section of the road. Meituan clarified that this incident was not caused by technical reasons.
Complicating matters, however, is that the unmanned vehicle does not appear to have been considered a motor vehicle in actual operation, so it did not display license plates or have the same insurance coverage as a motor vehicle. Meituan said that in the process of obtaining insurance for the vehicle, it was unable to obtain traffic insurance because it was deemed not to be a motor vehicle. But the vehicle has other corresponding insurance, including theft insurance, and its insured amount is the industry’s conventional level, Meituan said, without disclosing the specific amount of insurance.
As of this year, JD.com, Alibaba and Meituan have all said they plan to put as many as a thousand unmanned delivery vehicles into operation in 2021, but the regulation of such models by traffic regulations is still to be improved.