GUANGZHOU, China, Oct. 15, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — WeRide, a world-leading autonomous driving company, forayed into urban logistics industry with the unveiling of WeRide Robovan, the very first L4 self-driving cargo van in China. The company will work with Jiangling Motors (JMC), a major Chinese automobile manufacturer, and ZTO Express, a leading express delivery company in China, in a strategic cooperation, promoting mass production and the commercialization of WeRide Robovan. WeRide orchestrates this trilateral cooperation and creates an autonomous driving (AD) ecosystem for China’s urban logistics. WeRide now is not only dedicated to L4 autonomous driving mobility, but also smart urban logistics.
Today, Tony Han, the Founder and CEO of WeRide, signed a strategic cooperation agreement with Wenhui Jin, Executive Vice President of JMC and Renqun Jin, Vice President of ZTO Express during WeRide’s latest web live Press Conference "The Next". Combining the three companies’ expertise in technology, product innovation and commercialization, 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 customized assembly lines, while ZTO Express will acquire Robovans in their urban logistics usage.
Robovan is the third innovative AD product in the WeRide product family, in addition to Robotaxi and Mini Robobus. 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 solutions. It will offer all-weather, round-the-clock service on urban roads with leading L4 AD capabilities.
Being light-weight and nimble, Robovan naturally possesses substantial advantages in urban transport. After running a publicly accessible Robotaxi service for almost two years and the mass production of Robobuses on OEM assembly lines, WeRide has gained valuable experiences on product development and self-driving fleet operations. WeRide is confident that Robovan will 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.
In the future, the fully driverless Robovans will free up labor and provide uninterrupted logistics services. Complementary with digital and automatic AD fleet management platform, Robovan services will excel in the traditional logistics model. The birth of Robovan will revolutionize the existing urban logistics system, enabling faster and even more convenient delivery services. The commercialization of WeRide Robovan will change the landscape of urban logistics in an innovative way.
"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 Tony Han.
"This partnership will bring forth synergy which allows all parties to leverage on each other’s strengths. WeRide Robovan, one of the many achievements of this special trilateral partnership, will redefine urban logistics and inject new impetus into the industry," according to Wenhui Jin, the Executive Vice President of JMC.
Renqun Jin, the Vice President of ZTO Express, 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."
Jianfa Lai, the Executive Vice President of ZTO Express, also made remarks on the cooperation: "As a forerunner in our industry, ZTO Express will introduce and accelerate the use of autonomous driving in urban logistics through this partnership."
Currently, WeRide offers an all-rounded product mix of Robotaxi, Robovan and Mini Robobus and will continue to accelerate its technology. The company is dedicated to pursuing L4 autonomous driving on both mobility and logistics services.
WeRide aims to develop the most advanced autonomous driving technology, which will make our trips safer and more efficient. It has received strategic investment from top-tier global automakers, including Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance, and Yutong Group. WeRide is the first startup in the world to hold driverless test permits in both China and the US.
Established in 2017, WeRide is headquartered in Guangzhou, China, and maintains R&D and operation centers in Beijing, Shanghai, Nanjing, Wuhan, Zhengzhou, Shenzhen and Anqing, as well as San Jose in the US. It employs a highly skilled team and has extensive domestic and international experience in R&D, business models and business operations.
WeRide launched the first Robotaxi service, completely open to the public, in November 2019 in Guangzhou, covering an area of 144 square kilometers. A total of 147,128 trips were completed with more than 60,000 passengers during the first year of WeRide Robotaxi services.
Jiangling Motors Co., Ltd. (JMC) is a powerful force in China’s automobile industry. JMC has built its core competitiveness in commercial vehicle and gradually stepped into SUV and MPV markets.
JMC has been holding dual brand strategy with JMC brand and Ford brand developing simultaneously. Ford brand includes Transit products, Ford MPV Tourneo, Ford SUV Everest and Ford Territory, Ford Territory S, a mid-sized SUV jointly developed by Ford and JMC, a new SUV Ford Equator was launched in 2021. JMC brand includes light truck (Carrying series, Kaiyun series and Shunda series), Pickup (New Baodian, Yuhu7 and Yuhu9), light bus Teshun, and Yusheng SUV, etc.
About ZTO Express
Founded on May 8, 2002, ZTO Express ("ZTO" or the "Company") is a leading express delivery company in China. ZTO provides express delivery service and other value-added logistics services through its extensive and reliable nationwide network in China. As of June 30 2021, its network covers over 99% of China’s cities and counties. ZTO is both a key enabler and a direct beneficiary of China’s fast-growing e-commerce market, and has established itself as the trusted express delivery partner for millions of commerce customers, including online merchants and consumers selling and buying products on Chinese leading e-commerce sites, such as Alibaba, PDD, JD.com.
Building on the core express delivery business, ZTO strives to become an integrated logistics service provider. The company is expanding the service offerings with a goal to build an ecosystem featuring express delivery, less-than-truckload, cross-border, warehousing, aviation, commerce and more.