Alibaba Group's Cainiao Network and RoboSense jointly released this week the G Plus, which they claim to be the world's first solid-state LIDAR enabled unmanned logistics vehicle. Announced at Alibaba Group's Cainiao Network 2018 Global Smart Logistics Summit held this week in Hangzhou, China, a key feature of the driverless delivery vehicle is the MEMS based LIDAR technology developed by a Chinese startup company RoboSense. The company has reached a strategic partnership with Alibaba to provide LIDAR sensors for all G Plus unmanned delivery vehicles.
Alibaba's Cainiao G Plus unmanned delivery vehicle is equipped with three of RoboSense's LIDARs, two in the front and one in the rear, to ensure 3D perception of the driving environment. This is the first MEMS based LIDAR launched by RoboSense. The technology was first publicly presented and demonstrated at CES 2018 in Las Vegas. The company claims that its MEMS sensor requires "only a few" laser emitters and receivers to scan by MEMS micro-mirrors in both directions because of the swing angle. The resolution reportedly "reaches 0.2 dgrees".
In contrast, for traditional mechanical multi-beam LIDARs to achieve the same result, they require more than a hundred laser transmitters and receivers to rotate and scan at the same time, which greatly increases material and human labor costs and reduces yield and reliability.
"LIDAR is an indispensable sensor for advanced autonomous driving above L3, and on this industry has reached a consensus. [MEMS based LIDAR] has the advantages of high stability, high resolution, and low cost, and it can well meet the demand for OEMs," said Mark Qiu, co-founder and COO of RoboSense. "Reducing logistics costs and improving logistics efficiency is the mission of autonomous driving technology in the logistics industry. Alibaba and RoboSense both agree with this direction and we hope to increase our strengths jointly to promote mass production of unmanned logistics vehicles and put them into operation so that everyone from the community can benefit as soon as possible."
Also announced at the 2018 Global Smart Logistics Summit, the Alibaba Cainiao Network Technology Logistics Laboratory announced a plan named "Hump Project", joining a number of companies, including FAW Jiefang, Beihang University's Drone Team, RoboSense, and Dian Wo Da, to mass produce unmanned equipment for a new three-dimensional intelligent logistics network that includes unmanned vehicles and drones. The first members participating in the plan include vehicle and drone manufacturers, LIDAR companies, and companies with the need for unmanned equipment. "We want to build a three-dimensional distribution network. After a package enters the network, artificial intelligence will automatically distribute routes and unmanned vehicles will relay deliveries," said Zhang Chunhui, Director of the Cainiao Network E.T. Logistics Laboratory. "We plan to have 100,000 unmanned vehicles in the next three years."
Established in 2014, RoboSense is an autonomous driving LIDAR environment perception system provider, and reportedly the first company in China to bring autonomous driving LIDAR sensors into mass production. RoboSense says it has established a large number of autonomous driving partners in China and around the world, such as Alibaba, Jingdong, Tusimple, Next Future Mobility, ZMP, and others.
The RoboSense R&D and Operations Center is located in Nanshan District, Shenzhen, China, with offices in Beijing, China and Silicon Valley, California. At present, the company has more than 200 full-time employees (excluding production site employees). In addition, the company says that it has maintained long-term cooperation with top universities and research institutes, such as MIT, HKUST, Tsinghua University, and HIT.
Founded in 2013, Cainiao Network Technology was established by the Alibaba Group and eight other companies. G Plus is an Internet technology company focusing on logistics platform services through big data, smart technology, and efficient collaboration, together with partners to build a global logistics network, improve logistics efficiency, accelerate business inventory turnover, reduce logistics costs, and increase consumption -- in other words, "everything to provide the full logistics experience".
Tmall is an example of Cainiao Network's use of logistics technology. Since the establishment of the Cainiao Network through the promotion of smart logistics, the volume of Tmall's orders climbed on a single day from 152 million to 812 million, with the delivery time for 100 million packages dropping from 9 days to 2.8 days. Before 2022, Alibaba and Cainiao Network plan to invest 100 billion yuan (~$15.5 billion) to upgrade the global smart logistics network and accelerate the realization of "24 hours in the country and 72 hours in the world".
This article is a part of MEMS Journal's ongoing market research project in the area of MEMS and sensors devices for automotive applications. If you would like to receive our comprehensive market research report on this topic, please contact Dr. Mike Pinelis at email@example.com for more information about rates and report contents.
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