Following the news that Chinese technology and retail giant Alibaba is exploring opportunities to develop self-driving trucks with logistics subsidiary Cainiao Network Technology Co., Ltd;
Bakar Sadik Agwan, Senior Automotive Consulting Analyst at GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, offers his view:
“The news of Alibaba working with its logistics subsidiary Cainiao on self-driving trucks and that it aims to introduce 1,000 autonomous delivery robots by next year comes as a positive development and gives a strong message about the future of self-driving technology in China. Self-driving is emerging as a core technology with various stakeholders such as technology and automotive companies teaming up to bring their autonomous vehicles to the market for various application. The development also indicates Alibaba’s strong capabilities in autonomous technology. Alibaba has significantly invested in research and development around autonomous and related technology through its DAMO Academy and has research centres across several locations in China, the US and Israel.
“With the plans to bring in self-driving trucks for logistics application, Alibaba would make a leap in China autonomous vehicle market for commercial application. The company will leverage its rich heritage in the internet & technology and its existing presence in the automotive industry through partnership, collaborations and investments. The company is also an investor in Chinese self-driving start-up AutoX and could utilise its expertise.
“Growing e-commerce and digital retail have bolstered the demand and subsequently new opportunities in logistics and last-mile delivery. Companies across the globe are working on reviving logistics with driverless deliveries via drones and autonomous vehicles. Alibaba is well-capable to develop, supply and use its autonomous technology. It has the potential to reform the future logistics and last-mile delivery in China with a new autonomous logistic distribution environment. Additionally, the development could be that Alibaba is eyeing something close to Toyota’s vision for an autonomous vehicle ecosystem where pod-like driverless vehicles could serve various functions such as shared mobility, delivery and other purposes.”