Top priority? Delivering medical supplies. Beijing based e-commerce giant uses L4 autonomous driving androids to deliver goods in locked-down Wuhan
According to a statement on JD’s WeChat account on Friday, “JD.com’s logistics arm delivered the first batch of goods to a hospital in Wuhan on Thursday via its inhouse level 4 (L4) autonomous delivery robots”. Level 4 refers to “high driving automation,” which means that no human intervention is needed as long as the system is operating within a certain geofenced area, according to the international professional association of automotive engineers (SAE).
JD added that it “will open its L4 autonomous driving solutions to other robot makers, to enable more unmanned delivery beyond its own robots’ handling capacities in Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province and epicenter of the novel coronavirus”. A video also shows a self-driving four-wheeled delivery drone riding a 600-meter distance to reach the Wuhan Ninth Hospital to deliver the goods, while another video shows the robot’s ability to avoid other vehicles in the dark.
According to JD, each robot can carry up to 30 packages. Moreover, JD has said that these robots will be also able to transport larger boxes in the future to respond to the hospital’s needs. Upon the robot’s arrival at its destination, it will send a message to the recipient’s phone with a collection code, which can be input to release the package.
After the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan, JD has made it a priority to deliver goods to medical institutions. JD.com said on its website that it has transported more than 2.36 million medical and epidemic prevention supplies, including masks, medical gloves, goggles, disinfectants, and other products to major hospitals in Wuhan, Huanggang, and other places in Hubei province as of February 2. The firm revealed that more robots will start delivering goods to hospitals and enclosed neighborhoods in the city, without revealing the size of the fleet.