Driverless 5G vehicles bring takeaway to your doorstep in Chinese city
Head image: A customer is collecting food from an autonomous Pizza Hut food truck. Source: Business China
Imagine: giving a hand wave and a “restaurant on wheels” brings a meal straight to you; tapping on the screen to make your order, scanning a code to pay, collecting food from the open door and walking away with your hot meal with zero human interaction.
This is not a fiction. Neolix, a Chinese start-up supplying mini delivery vehicles for food sales, and delivery, has teamed up with takeaway giants including KFC and Pizza Hut to make that a reality with its unmanned 5G ‘food trucks’.
Trials have started in Shanghai, providing the service mainly in public parks, industrial units and commercial areas.
Service breaks are scheduled throughout the day to allow fleets to be cleaned and disinfected.
At least 200 such vehicles will be made available in the city by the end of November, and approximately 1,000 fleets of these vehicles will start serving the public in other parts of the country before the end of this year.
These autonomous shuttles were deployed in cities such as Beijing, Shenzhen and Wuhan to provide contactless takeaway service for key workers and used for street disinfection as early as February, when the country was at the height of the pandemic.
Image: Autonomous Pizza Hut food trucks are serving public in a plaza in Shanghai. Source: chinaagv.com
The driverless vehicles can detect and avoid obstacles supported by level 4 autonomous driving, says the manufacturer’s website. The level 4 self-driving technology enables vehicles to handle the majority of urban driving solutions independently, although, at which level, a human driver can still request control and a car is still installed with a cockpit.
It has a rated mileage of 100km on a single charge and a maximum speed of 50km/h. The battery can be swapped within 30 seconds without extra tools and can operate for a full day with one fully charged.
A cloud platform set up by the supplier coordinates vehicle dispatching, condition monitoring and visualization, error warning management and driving data analysis. Neolix also claims its mobility service network already covers over ten cities in China with more than 200 fleets sold to flagship customers including Chinese tech giants Huawei, Alibaba and JD.com and popular takeaway service provider Meituan.
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