Suning and Baidu Apollo set sights on Starship

Suning Logistics and Baidu Apollo, both Chinese firms, are working together on self-driving delivery vehicle projects that they have announced “could see the mass production of unmanned delivery vehicles as early as 2020”.

In a statement, Suning said the partnership with Baidu Apollo is part of its strategy to “provide fully automated logistics solutions powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI)”.

At a technology event in Beijing, Suning and Baidu Apollo unveiled an unmanned delivery vehicle dubbed the “MicroCar” which they say will help to solve “the last 5km delivery problems”. This would go head to head with the US Starship.

Suning said that it has developed a number of “terminal delivery scenarios”, which include: “Smart Community (unmanned delivery car + automatic picking-up cabinet); Local Instant Delivery (Suning convenience store + unmanned delivery car); and Mobile Distribution (unmanned distribution car + fixed distribution route)”.

Lu Junfeng, Vice President of Suning Logistics, commented: “By combining the rich smart community scenarios built by Suning, and the advanced unmanned self-driving technology developed by Baidu in its Apollo program, we are now significantly closer to realizing the commercialization of fully autonomous, self-driving technology.

“In the future, with continued in-depth cooperation between Suning and Baidu, a new form of smart logistics community will better benefit the public by making their lives even easier.”