Alibaba’s logistics platform Cainiao together with DAMO Academy announced that a total of 350 unmanned delivery vehicles have been put into operation in more than 200 universities in more than 70 cities across the country to cater to the anticipated demand during the Double 11 shopping festival.
The express delivery volume in colleges and universities continues to grow steadily, leading to the demand rise for unmanned vehicles. At Sichuan University, there will be 6 unmanned vehicles running on campus during the festival. At Tianjin Normal University, 9 unmanned vehicles will undertake the delivery of thousands of express parcels every day. Some campuses will even have more than 10 unmanned vehicles, such as Zhejiang University and Sichuan Institute of Culture and Art.
During the Double 11 shopping festival last year, 30,000 express parcels were all delivered by Cainiao’s unmanned delivery vehicles all over Zhejiang University’s campus.
According to Xiang Guo, the person in charge of Cainiao’s business on university campuses, an unmanned vehicle will work an average of 8 hours a day and can deliver up to 400 express parcels. According to the number of reserved express orders and road conditions, the unmanned vehicle will automatically calculate the optimal route. As a “polite car”, unmanned vehicles will take the initiative to avoid obstacle while also signalling before making any turn.
“A large-scale launch of unmanned vehicles provides a more convenient way for college teachers and students to get their express parcels, and can basically alleviate express pressure on our delivery stations during peak order times.” Xiang Guo added.
Wang Gang, head of the autonomous driving laboratory of DAMO Academy, revealed earlier that, as of the end of September this year, Cainiao’s unmanned vehicle had distributed over 1 million parcels to 200,000 users. At present, the scale of unmanned distribution fleet for the Double 11 shopping festival has expanded to 350 vehicles, and by March 2022, it will expand to 1,000 vehicles.