We’ve been hearing a lot about autonomous vehicles lately. Whether they are transporting people or making deliveries, it seems like every city in the world is running tests. For the most part, cars and shuttles are picking up people while mini robots are handling deliveries. One startup in China is looking to take a little from both with autonomous delivery vans.
In what they claim is a world first, Chinese startup Neolix has begun mass production of self driving delivery vans. While the vehicles are a bit smaller and nimbler than normal vans, they can still carry a heavier volume and larger items than most delivery bots. Another added benefit is the vans will not attract as much attention as delivery robots would.
The vans can make deliveries day or night in most weather conditions. Customers can track the self driving delivery vans via an app and simply use their smartphone to access items once the vehicle arrives. One drawback is that while the vans are completely autonomous, a human needs to be present to accept the delivery.
Neolix Plans To Deliver 1000 Self Driving Vans This Year
So far Neolix vans have already logged over 300,000 miles operating in Changzhou, the Xiongan economic zone, and select areas of Beijing. Already counting JD.Com and Huawei as customers, Neolix plans to deliver 1000 vehicles this year. Their production line in Changzhou has an annual capacity of 30,000 if need be and there are plans to open more factories once sales begin to ramp up.
Neolix isn’t just limiting themselves to China as they are talking to customers in the US, Japan, and Switzerland. As far as pricing goes, the company says each vehicle costs about $30,000. They are targeting annual sales of 100,000 units in five years.
“When ‘robotaxis’ really enter our daily lives, we may already have over a million self-driving delivery vehicles in use, and makers of those vehicles will be a key driver behind the autonomous-driving technology,” said Neolix founder Yu Enyuan.