Beijing (Gasgoo)- Alibaba is developing and testing its L4 autonomous truck for city logistics based on the large-scale application of its last-mile logistics vehicle, according to a company executive.
the last-mile vehicle “xiaomanlv”; photo credit: Alibaba Xiaomanlv
The last-mile logistics vehicles have delivered over a million orders for 200,000 users so far. The last-mile logistics vehicles fleet will be expanded to 350 vehicles before this November and is expected to reach tens of thousands of units in three years, with an average daily delivery volume in the millions.
The head of Alibaba’s DAMO Academy autonomous driving lab, Wang Gang revealed the lab is currently developing a truck version with L4 autonomous driving functions, targeting city-wide freight service, especially for transporting goods from delivery centers to Cainiao Post. Cainiao, the logistic arm of Alibaba Group, has already been cooperating with the project, and the L4 trucks have started small-scale road tests. Per the lab’s estimation, the unmanned trucks should be operating on open roads in three years.
Comparing to last-mile logistics vehicles, developing autonomous trucks requires much more effort and technology. The executive said the company’s previously acquired experience, technologies, and data when developing the last-mile vehicles laid the foundation for its driverless light truck endeavor. The truck will be powered by the same existing L4 architecture, machine learning platform, cloud-based intelligent simulation testing platform, embedded computing unit, and customized sensor technologies from the last-mile vehicles.
In addition, Alibaba’s investee in the autonomous driving field, DeepRoute.ai, recently announced its entry to the autonomous urban freight field, overlapping with the group’s business layout. However, Wang Gang emphasized, the investment in DeepRoute.ai was mainly for autonomous driving solutions in passenger vehicles, while DAMO Academy is in charge of the group’s urban freight development segment.