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Udelv test vehicles ready to be rolled out in US

By Fan Feifei | China Daily | Updated: 2019-01-10 09:48

US-based autonomous delivery van company Udelv is planning to roll out as many as 100 test vehicles, which leverage the updated self-driving open platform of Chinese internet search giant Baidu Inc, for goods delivery in Silicon Valley and other parts of the United States this year.

"Udelv's next generation autonomous delivery van is a prime example of Apollo accelerating innovation and utility in the autonomous driving industry," said Wang Jing'ao, head of Baidu's Apollo project on the sidelines of the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas on Wednesday.

Baidu has formed a partnership deal with Udelv that will see self-driving vans powered by Apollo 3.5, the first open source autonomous driving platform that can perform in complex urban and suburban driving scenarios, to offer delivery services to US retailers such as Walmart Inc.

Udelv said it will continue to use future versions of the Apollo platform modules to build its own autonomous driving algorithms for a range of delivery-specific situations in unstructured environments.

"Udelv's mission is to reinvent traditional delivery models by developing the world's best self-driving delivery technology," Daniel Laury, its CEO, said in a statement.

Founded in California in late 2016, Udelv is revolutionizing transportation with its autonomous delivery van, built specifically for last and middle-mile delivery on public roads.

At the CES unveiling, Beijing-based tech giant Baidu also announced the launch of Apollo Enterprise, a suite of self-driving solutions ranging from highway autonomous driving solutions, valet parking and fully autonomous minibus solutions, to voice assistant and intelligent map data services, for mass production vehicles.

Baidu is collaborating with global and national auto brands, such as Ford, Chery, BYD, Great Wall and WM Motor, to deploy these solutions in production vehicles.

"We're excited to join hands with each and every Apollo Enterprise client to create safe, customizable, and scalable solutions to accelerate the commercialization of intelligent driving and enhance the mobility experience for everyone," said Zhang Yaqin, president of Baidu.

Baidu also announced it will launch autonomous cars with Level 3 capabilities in 2021 in a partnership with Chinese electric car startup WM Motor.

Moreover, the company plans to launch a fleet of 100 robo-taxis in Changsha, the capital of Hunan province, on 210 kilometers of city roads. The fleet will be China's first group of autonomous driving taxis managed by Baidu's V2X system, a comprehensive solution that integrates smart vehicles and intelligent road infrastructure for safer deployment of autonomous cars.

Zeng Zhiling, managing director of LMC Automotive Consulting Co, said Baidu's efforts are significant to the automotive industry, but given safety concerns, more time and tests are needed to roll out fully autonomous cars in the market.

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