Following an earlier announcement, WeRide has detailed more of Robovan, claimed to be the first L4 self-driving cargo van in China.
The company will work with Jiangling Motors (JMC), a major Chinese automobile manufacturer and Ford light commercial vehicle JV partner, and ZTO Express, an express delivery company, in a strategic cooperation, promoting mass production and the commercialisation of the AV van.
Tony Han, founder and CEO of WeRide, has now signed a strategic cooperation agreement with Wenhui Jin, EVP of JMC and Renqun Jin, VP of ZTO Express.
Combining the three companies’ expertise in technology, product innovation and commercialisation, they will jointly undertake Robovan’s commercial pilot operations and explore the know how of upgrading urban logistics. Moving forward, WeRide and JMC will work closely together to design purpose built models for mass production on JMC’s customised assembly lines, while ZTO Express will acquire Robovans for urban logistics usage.
Robovan’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. It will offer all-weather, round-the-clock service on urban roads with L4 AD capabilities.
WeRide said it was confident Robovan would be able to operate “in a stable, safe and efficient manner under different circumstances, including various urban traffic scenarios in CBD, urban villages, tunnels and highways”.
“WeRide has always emphasized that AD technologies should be used effectively in reality to serve the society. With the introduction of Robovan, the very first L4 self-driving cargo van in China, we have heralded a new era of autonomous driving for urban logistics in the country. By teaming up with two key players in the sector, Jiangling Motors and ZTO Express, we continue to uphold the “triangle model” of collaborating, an approach which WeRide has adopted since we developed passenger vehicles. We are aiming to deliver both smart mobility and smart logistics for cities in the future,” said Han.
Jin said: “ZTO Express has been following the application of self-driving technology in urban logistics. 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 solutions for urban logistics.”