(Yicai Global) June 10 -- Chinese autopilot companies, including WeRide and Baidu, have joined the country's efforts in handling the latest Covid-19 outbreaks in southern China's Guangzhou.
Some 23 self-driving cars and 13 small logistics vehicles have delivered more than 64 tons of supplies to Guangzhou's 11 medium- and high-risk areas via nearly 1,000 trips as of June 8, Chen Jianhua, chief economist at the municipal industry and information technology bureau, said at a press conference yesterday.
The city started putting some areas under lockdown on June 3 while calling for local tech firms to help in distributing supplies, including personal protective equipment and food, to the districts.
"Driverless vehicles require high technical maturity and stability to operate in these closed areas because they have no drivers at all,” said Mo Luyi, head of Pony.ai’s research and development center in Guangzhou.
Toyota-backed Pony.ai offered its two autonomous models, a taxi and a truck. The cab had finished more than 200 trips and the freight truck nearly 1,000 missions as of June 8. The vehicles delivered 40 tons of materials, including tests and personal protective equipment.
Moreover, vehicles jointly developed by Pony.ai and Guangzhou Automobile Group also transported teachers and students to go to the national college entrance exam sites.
Guangzhou-based WeRide, which is backed by the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance, has dispatched two models, Robotaxi and Mini Robobus. The vehicles were fulfilling more than 500 orders on June 7 and the highest single load was 500 kilograms, including medicine, infant formula, and study materials for college entrance exam takers, the startup said in a blog on June 7.
Besides PPE, Baidu’s autopilot platform Apollo was also assisting in food distribution with its unmanned taxis and buses. The search engine owner's unit dispatched its team to operate the vehicles to reduce frontline workers' labor.
Editor: Emmi Laine, Xiao Yi