Alibaba has announced a new innovation in logistics at the Cainiao Network 2018, Global Smart Logistics Summit. An automated delivery robot called the G Plus can be easily mass produced and could serve a variety of different purposes.
The G Plus has an extended stamina that allows it to cover larger distances as compared to its predecessors. The delivery bot has loading boxes that can change size depending on the size of the package that needs to be delivered.
Having a top speed of 9.3 mph, it uses LIDAR technology to navigate and it helps the robot create a 3D map of the path. It reduces its speed to 6.2 mph when it detects traffic. LIDAR is the most commonly used solution for vision in autonomous vehicles and has the same principle as RADAR but instead of radio waves, it uses light waves.
The G Plus delivery bot is currently being road-tested at the Alibaba headquarters at Hangzhou, China. Upon reaching the address meant for the package, it can either drop it there or the customer can enter a PIN to retrieve it.
This delivery bot is the first of its kind and is the first solid-state LIDAR unmanned logistics vehicle of the world and creates a powerful 3D perception with two RS-LIDAR-M1Pres in the front and one at the back.
The commercial production of the autonomous delivery bot will begin by the end of the year and even though this is not the first driverless delivery robot, it is cheaper and easier to manufacture owing to the LIDAR system.
This is a big technological breakthrough and a huge step in the positive direction. BMW plans to launch their own autonomous car by 2021 and it is also said to feature LIDAR technology. We will have to wait for a couple of years for that to come out though.