Alibaba and RoboSense Announce World’s First LiDAR Unmanned Logistics Vehicle
Alibaba’s Cainiao G Plus’s “G Plus” Unmanned Logistics Vehicle is Equipped with RoboSense MEMS Solid-State Laser Radar — Costs as Low as a Few Hundred Dollars.
May 31, 2018, Hangzhou, China – Alibaba Group’s Cainiao Network and RoboSense jointly released today G Plus, the world’s first solid-state LiDAR unmanned logistics vehicle. Announced at Alibaba Group’s Cainiao Network 2018 Global Smart Logistics Summit held today in Hangzhou, China, the most important feature of the newly announced G Plus driverless delivery vehicles is the solid-state LiDAR technology, the RS-LiDAR-M1Pre, developed by China’s RoboSense. This is the first time that solid-state LiDAR has been officially used in the development of an unmanned vehicle, heralding the beginning of a new solid-state LiDAR era in driverless vehicles.
RoboSense has reached a strategic partnership with Alibaba to provide delivery vehicles with solid-state LiDARs for all G Plus unmanned logistics cars, drastically reducing the cost of the driverless vehicles. The vehicles can be mass-produced, allowing the rapid expansion of unmanned logistics vehicles and streamlining mass market delivery logistics, for the rapid popularization of the vehicles. The unmanned cars and trucks can also be equipped with different smart devices according to demand, turning the vehicle into a courier vehicle, a mobile self-pickup station, a mobile coffee vending cart, etc., which can be applied to various new retail scenarios.
3D Perception of the Driving Environment
The Alibaba’s Cainiao G Plus unmanned delivery vehicle is equipped with three RS-LiDAR-M1Pres, two in the front and one in the rear, to ensure the most powerful 3D perception of the driving environment. This allows unmanned delivery vehicles to clearly see the direction of travel, including the shape, distance, azimuth, travel speed, and direction of travel of pedestrians, cars, trucks, and other obstacles, as well as the exact areas on which roads can be driven, etc., to ensure the smooth flow of unmanned logistics vehicles in a complex road environment.
RoboSense LiDAR Costs as Low as a Few Hundred Dollars
The RS-LiDAR-M1Pre is the first MEMS solid-state LiDAR launched by RoboSense. The world’s first solid-state LiDAR equipped in an unmanned vehicle, the technology was first publicly presented and demonstrated at CES 2018 in Las Vegas. The technology’s outstanding results and advancements have already attracted widespread attention in the industry. The core technology of the MEMS solid-state LiDAR is disruptive to traditional mechanical multi-beam radars. The MEMS micro mirror scanning scheme used in the RS-LiDAR-M1Pre requires only a few laser emitters and receivers to scan through the MEMS micro-mirror in both directions because of the swing angle. The resolution is a very fine, high angle and vertical angle resolution that reaches 0.2° throughout the angle of view.
In contrast, for traditional mechanical multi-beam LiDAR to achieve the same effect, they require more than a hundred laser transmitters and receivers to rotate and scan at the same time, which greatly increases material and human costs and reduces yield and reliability, making the advantages of MEMS solid-state LiDAR technology obvious. While improving the performance of LiDAR, the cost savings is also great, and at the same time the miniaturization of the scanning structure greatly improves the stability of LiDAR.
“The LiDAR is an indispensable sensor for advanced autonomous driving above L3, and on this, industry has reached a consensus. The solid-state laser 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.”
About RoboSense. Established in 2014, RoboSense is world’s leading autonomous driving LiDAR environment perception system provider, the first company in China to bring autonomous driving LiDAR into mass production. The company is based on its research, development, and continuous technological innovations to achieve its world leading stature. RoboSense strives to deliver cutting edge robotic perception solution products to the world, which can perfectly integrate premium LiDAR sensor hardware, 3D environment perception algorithms, and deep learning technologies to sense the environment beyond human eyes. Through constant technology innovation, the company has made it possible for robots to “see” the world with excellent environment perception capability. RoboSense has created 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) and the core research and development team is more than 60% graduate students. In addition, the company has maintained long-term cooperation with top universities and research institutes, such as MIT, HKUST, Tsinghua University, and HIT.
About Cainiao Network. Founded in May 28, 2013, Cainiao Network Technology Co., Ltd. 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 – everything to provide the full logistics experience. Tmall is a great 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. It has created a miracle in the world-wide logistics industry. Before 2022, Alibaba and Cainiao Network will also invest 100 billion yuan to upgrade the global smart logistics network and accelerate the realization of “24 hours in the country and 72 hours in the world.”