FedEx Express yesterday announced that it is collaborating with Neolix to test an autonomous delivery vehicle in China. FedEx said it is the first time in its operations that it has partnered with a local Chinese technology company to test the use of a driverless vehicle.
“FedEx Express is committed to developing and leveraging technologies that will help transform the logistics industry, enhance [the] customer experience, and reduce the environmental impact of our business operations,” said Eddy Chan, senior vice president and president of FedEx China.
“The rapid growth of e-commerce requires more flexible and efficient digital logistics solutions to solve the ‘last-mile’ delivery challenges,” he said. “Our collaboration with Neolix will help us further understand the role of autonomous vehicle technology in enhancing operational flexibility and diversity, which is our latest initiative to support sustainable and intelligent logistics.”
FedEx Express is a subsidiary of FedEx Corp. and said it is one of the world's largest express transportation companies, providing deliveries to more than 220 countries and territories. FedEx has a goal of achieving carbon-neutral operations by 2040.
Autonomous vehicle specifications
FedEx Express said its partnership with Neolix is its latest effort to embrace technological innovation and deploy autonomous vehicles to embrace sustainable and intelligent logistics in China.
Neolix said it has developed comprehensive closed-loop hardware and software, a standardized mass-production system, and an efficient and safe driverless operation system. The Beijing-based company said it aims to improve the efficiency of retail connectivity by creating a “What you see is what you get” service through an instant fulfillment network.
FedEx Express is testing a zero-emission, all-electric vehicle with SAE Level 4 autonomy. It includes the following features:
- Self-driving technology with Internet and intelligent cargo-box tech, incorporating artificial intelligence for dispatching, all-round monitoring, and cloud-based management
- Multiple safety features and a maximum cargo capacity of approximately 500 kg (1,102 lb.) and a range of 100 km (62.1 mi.) on a full charge
- A system that can handle complex road conditions and traffic light recognition during the delivery process
- Support for driving in sunny, foggy, light rain, night, and other conditions
In addition, the cargo box of the autonomous vehicle can be converted into a temperature-controlled compartment and a smart parcel locker.
FedEx partners with Neolix and others
FedEx and Neolix began testing the autonomous vehicle this month in Beijing. The two companies will test operations in variety of scenarios including delivery to a campus, an office building, and a station over different time periods and then will obtain feedback about the customer experience.
The autonomous vehicle will be shown at the China International Import Expo in Shanghai in November. Visitors will be able to see firsthand its advanced functions, operations, and convenient applications, said the companies.
“Our collaboration with FedEx is not only in line with market development trends, but also an innovative attempt for Neolix to explore the impact on the logistics sector in addition to the retail sector,” said Enyuan Yu, CEO of Neolix. “We hope to support the transformation and development of the logistics industry by utilizing the intelligent advantages of autonomous vehicles.”
FedEx has been exploring and developing the use of new technologies, including automation and robotics in its operations and services in various markets around the world.
To advance the “last mile” of package delivery, FedEx in April said it has worked with Nuro LLC to test and use Nuro’s next-generation delivery robot in the U.S.
In July, Roxo, the FedEx SameDay Bot, an autonomous delivery device developed by FedEx with DEKA Development Research, landed in Japan.
In September, FedEx announced a collaboration with the self-driving startup Aurora Innovation Inc. and heavy-duty vehicle manufacturer PACCAR Inc. to test autonomous trucks in the U.S.
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