(Yicai Global) Sept. 17 -- Alibaba Group Holding has unveiled its first logistics robot Xiaomanlv while looking to debut service bots at airports and tourist attractions. It has also launched some related developer tools.
Xiaomanlv will first be widely used at Alibaba's Cainiao logistics stations, the Paper reported today, citing Jeff Zhang, president of the e-commerce giant's global research initiative Alibaba DAMO Academy.
The artificial intelligence lab also revealed an open-source platform to encourage developers to come up with their own robots, an industry that the International Federation of Robotics predicts to expand into a market worth trillions of US dollars.
There seems to be no end in sight for the growth of China's e-commerce business. The sector should break through the level of 1 billion orders a day soon, according to Zhang. But last-mile logistics is the costliest and the least efficient part of the entire system, he added.
Xiaomanlv, which links AI with autonomous driving, can deliver as many as 500 packages a day to one designated destination such as an office building or a school. It can carry 50 parcels at a time and cover 100 kilometers on a single charge regardless of the weather or GPS connection.
Consumers can obtain their orders by inserting their passcodes, generated by Alibaba's shopping platforms.
Editor: Emmi Laine