Suning Logistics and Baidu Apollo partnering on self-driving technology

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In an effort to “accelerate the commercial application of self-driving technology,” Suning Logistics, which is a subsidiary of Suning Holdings group, has signed a strategic partnership with Baidu Apollo.

The partnership between the entities was announced at the “Baidu Create 2018” event in Beijing, China.

“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,” says Lu Junfeng, Vice President of Suning Logistics.

“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.”

During the “Baidu Create 2018” event, Suning and Baidu also unveiled an unmanned delivery vehicle dubbed the “MicroCar” that is equipped with Baidu's L4-class intelligence system.

The vehicle has been designed to solve what Suning describes as “the last 5km delivery problems.”

Suning has also introduced its smart logistics system, which includes “terminal delivery scenarios” that open up opportunities for Baidu Apollo’s self-driving technology to be put into commercial use.

Suning's terminal delivery scenarios 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).”

Suning plans to bring self-driving technology into commercial use first in its Local Instant Delivery services. At this point in time, Suning convenience stores provide delivery services within three kilometers, and the self-driving delivery vehicle will supplement couriers, ultimately allowing for a 24-hour delivery service that can better serve the local community.

Suning’s partnership with Baidu Apollo is part of its strategy to provide “fully automated logistics solutions powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI).” Suning says that it will continue to work with technology firms to build a smart logistics system in which self-driving trucks, automated vehicles and robots “work seamlessly to complete the delivery job for humans.”