Chinese autonomous driving company WeRide announced on Thursday that it will work with auto maker Jiangling Motors (JMC) and ZTO Express to promote the mass production and the commercialization of the company’s Robovan, the very first L4 self-driving cargo van in China.
WeRide orchestrated the agreement in an effort to bolster an autonomous driving (AD) ecosystem for China’s urban logistics industry. Moving forward, WeRide and JMC will work closely together to design purpose-built models for mass production on JMC’s customized assembly lines, while ZTO Express will utlizie Robovans in their urban logistics applications.
Robovan is the third AD product in the WeRide product family, in addition to Robotaxi and Mini Robobus. The new vehicle’s design is based on JMC’s battery electric vehicle (BEV) model with a fully-redundant vehicle platform and WeRide’s full-stack software and hardware AD solutions. It will offer all-weather, round-the-clock service on urban roads.
WeRide is confident that Robovan will be able to operate in a stable, safe and efficient manner under a variety of circumstances, including various urban traffic scenarios in a city’s CBD, urban villages, tunnels and highways.
“We are aiming to deliver both smart mobility and smart logistics for cities in the future,” said Tony Han, the Founder and CEO of WeRide. At the same time, Wenhui Jin, the Executive Vice President of JMC, believes this partnership will bring forth a synergy that allows all parties to leverage each other’s strengths.
Renqun Jin, the Vice President of ZTO Express, said: “By drawing on our strengths in hardware and software, through this cooperation we will jointly explore a new model for smart logistics and develop an integrated AD solution for urban logistics.”
As an auto maker, JMC has been working under a dual brand strategy by developing its own JMC brand in addition to work being done under the Ford brand. WeRide’s other partner, ZTO Express, will provide express delivery service and other value-added logistics services through its nationwide network in China. As of June 30 2021, ZTO’s network covers over 99% of China’s cities and counties.