Chinese self-driving startup WeRide announced Thursday its entry into the self-driving freight sector with the launch of WeRide Robovan, which the company calls China's first L4 self-driving van.
The company will work with Jiangling Motors and ZTO Express to advance the mass production and commercialization of the Robovan and build a self-driving ecosystem for same-city freight transportation in China, the company said in a statement.
The Robovan is based on one of Jiangling's BEV models and is equipped with the WeRide self-driving solution for all-day, all-weather operation in urban traffic scenarios, the company said.
ZTO Express will purchase the WeRide Robovan in bulk, and the three companies are working together to create a new eco-system for crosstown freight, according to the statement.
Han Xu, founder and CEO of WeRide, said the move is aimed to meet the needs of future urban self-driving travel and freight transportation.
(Photo source: WeRide)
Founded in 2017 and with global headquarters in Guangzhou, WeRide is an intelligent mobility company with L4-level self-driving technology.
In November 2019, WeRide launched China's first fully open Robotaxi operation service in Guangzhou, covering hundreds of square kilometers of core urban open roads in Huangpu District and Guangzhou Development Zone.
The company has been conducting regular autonomous driving tests in Wuhan since October 2020, covering 106 km of local open roads.
WeRide has been safely testing in Wuhan for more than 10 months so far and is able to handle all of the above complex traffic scenarios in a stable and safe manner, it claims.
Late last month, WeRide released a video showing its vehicles conducting a full 2-hour, 40-kilometer takeover-free self-driving test in Wuhan, a city in central China.
The test took place during rush hour, with high traffic on the roads and a rainstorm midway through that human drivers would find challenging.
The video shows WeRide's Robotaxi safely and smoothly crossing a 40-kilometer-long test section in the Wuhan Economic and Technological Development Zone during a rainstorm.