China Post and Deppon to begin autonomous package delivery
March 6, 2019
Chinese delivery and logistics companies China Post and Deppon Express will begin autonomous package delivery services next month with the first self-driving vehicles in daily commercial use in China. The lorries will operate on autonomous driving technologies developed by Fabu Technology, an artificial intelligence (AI) company focused on intelligent driving systems.
Starting in November 2018, Fabu partnered with China Post and Deppon Express to begin testing level-four autonomous driving lorries in China's heavily populated Zhejiang province. In level-four autonomous driving, the car handles the majority of driving situations independently although a human driver can still take control when needed.
During the testing, self-driving lorries operating on Fabu autonomous driving technology averaged 64km daily round trips along three different routes, with one delivery route passing through 50 intersections, 26 of which were controlled by traffic lights. The lorries drove both in daylight and at night, and on highways, through tunnels and along residential streets filled with pedestrians, schools and flea markets.
Since the self-driving tests were conducted in winter, these level-four lorries also had to drive their routes during difficult weather conditions such as rainstorms, snow and fog.
In total, during the testing period autonomous lorries successfully drove more than 3500km miles and delivered over 60,000 parcels during China's peak shopping season, which includes Singles' Day, Christmas and Chinese New Year.
"We are very excited that Fabu technology is at the heart of the first autonomous delivery trucks in China," said Xiaofei He, founder and CEO of Fabu. "China Post and Deppon have also been very pleased with the performance of Fabu self-driving technology in their trucks and plan on expanding their autonomous delivery services to 100 routes in the near future."
With the increase in online shopping and a shortage of lorry drivers, these companies believe that self-driving lorries will help them save on operating costs in the long run, said He. They estimate that their initial investments in vehicular hardware systems will be recouped in one year.
Since its founding in August 2017, Fabu has focused on developing self-driving technology by investing its engineering resources not only on algorithm optimisation, but also on building silicon hardware from the ground up. Strengthening the connections between AI algorithm and AI silicon helps the company meet the power, performance and price requirements to accelerate commercial deployment of autonomous vehicles.
China Post, the state-owned enterprise that operates the official postal service of mainland China, employs 860,000 people in more than 82,000 post offices and branches. The service operates over 39,000 transport vehicles, which travel over a delivery network with more than three million kilometres of streets and highways. Deppon Express is a logistics company in China, with operations in Korea, Japan, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, and Vietnam. It operates 10,000 retail offices across China's 34 provinces.
Fabu has offices in Hangzhou, China; Phoenix, Arizona; and San Diego and Silicon Valley, California.