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China’s WeRide Reveals Robovan for Autonomous Parcel Deliveries

Chinese startup has based its new delivery van on JMC’s battery electric vehicle model and will feature WeRide’s full-stack autonomous driving software

WeRide’s prototype Robovan tested on the streets of Guangzhou. Photo: WeRide

 

Chinese consumers may start receiving delivery parcels from robots sooner than expected.

WeRide, a China-based autonomous driving startup that’s backed by Japan’s Nissan, has said unveiled a fully self-driving urban logistics vans – dubbed the Robovan – which it will make with carmaker JMC and delivery firm ZTO Express.

The company plans to test the vehicles on roads around Guangzhou airport in southern Guangdong province.

Reports said the Robovans will be based on JMC’s battery electric vehicle model and will feature WeRide’s full-stack software and hardware autonomous driving (AD) solutions.

Level 4 Autonomy

The Guangzhou-based startup, led by founder Tony Han, is pursuing what is known in the auto industry as a level 4 autonomous standard, in which the vehicle can handle all aspects of driving in most circumstances with no human intervention.

WeRide is testing autonomous passenger cars and mini-buses.

WeRide said in a statement that it would jointly develop self-driving vans with JMC, in which Ford Motor has a stake, and ZTO.

Automakers and technology firms are investing billions of dollars in autonomous driving, aiming to take an early lead in what many consider the future of mobility.

According to TechCrunch, WeRide was valued at $3.3 billion after recently obtaining $600 million in two capital-raising efforts.

 

  • Reuters and Mark McCord

 

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Mark McCord

Mark McCord is a financial journalist with more than three decades experience writing and editing at global news wires including Bloomberg and AFP, as well as daily newspapers in Hong Kong, Sydney and Melbourne. He has covered some of the biggest breaking news events in recent years including the Enron scandal, the New York terrorist attacks and the Iraq War. He is based in the UK. You can tweet to Mark at @MarkMcC64371550.

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