(Yicai Global) Jan. 23 -- Cainiao Network Technology Co., the smart logistics arm under Chinese e-commerce leviathan Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., is conducting tests for self-driving trucks, state-backed news outlet The Paper cited an informed source as saying.
The firm posted job listings on a public recruitment website to hire more than 30 driving automation specialists based in Beijing or Hangzhou, the report added. Vacancies include researchers for driverless vision systems and navigation algorithm experts.
Cainiao unveiled its first delivery robot to serve residential areas in September 2016. The model was rather slow, but the underlying technology was similar to self-driving vehicles. It upgraded the automated courier after the Singles' Day shopping festival in November last year, releasing a larger, faster version named GPlus.
As well as automating the final stages of delivery, Cainiao is looking to develop self-driving trucks as a new direction in the smart logistics sector, the engineer added, saying the company plans to develop trucks than can drive themselves along trunk roads.
Autonomous driving for logistics will certainly be used on enclosed sites or at special companies first, one of the firm's automotive engineers wrote on Chinese question and answer website Zhihu.