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World’s first solid-state lidar unmanned logistics vehicle

31 May 2018

Alibaba Group’s Cainiao Network and RoboSense jointly released G Plus, the world’s first solid-state LiDAR unmanned logistics vehicle.

Announced at Alibaba Group’s Cainiao Network 2018 Global Smart Logistics Summit held in Hangzhou, China, the most important feature of the newly announced G Plus driverless delivery vehicles is the solid-state LiDAR technology, the RS-LiDAR-M1Pre, developed by China’s RoboSense. This is the first time that solid-state LiDAR has been officially used in the development of an unmanned vehicle, heralding the beginning of a new solid-state LiDAR era in driverless vehicles.

RoboSense has reached a strategic partnership with Alibaba to provide delivery vehicles with solid-state LiDARs for all G Plus unmanned logistics cars, drastically reducing the cost of the driverless vehicles. The vehicles can be mass-produced, allowing the rapid expansion of unmanned logistics vehicles and streamlining mass market delivery logistics, for the rapid popularisation of the vehicles. The unmanned cars and trucks can also be equipped with different smart devices according to demand, turning the vehicle into a courier vehicle, a mobile self-pickup station, a mobile coffee vending cart, etc., which can be applied to various new retail scenarios.

3D perception of the driving environment

The Alibaba’s Cainiao G Plus unmanned delivery vehicle is equipped with three RS-LiDAR-M1Pres, two in the front and one in the rear, to ensure the most powerful 3D perception of the driving environment. This allows unmanned delivery vehicles to clearly see the direction of travel, including the shape, distance, azimuth, travel speed, and direction of travel of pedestrians, cars, trucks, and other obstacles, as well as the exact areas on which roads can be driven, etc., to ensure the smooth flow of unmanned logistics vehicles in a complex road environment.

RoboSense LiDAR costs as low as a few hundred pounds

The technology’s results and advancements have already attracted widespread attention in the industry. The core technology of the MEMS solid-state LiDAR is disruptive to traditional mechanical multi-beam radars. The MEMS micro mirror scanning scheme used in the RS-LiDAR-M1Pre requires only a few laser emitters and receivers to scan through the MEMS micro-mirror in both directions because of the swing angle. The resolution is a very fine, high angle and vertical angle resolution that reaches 0.2° throughout the angle of view.

In contrast, for traditional mechanical multi-beam LiDAR to achieve the same effect, they require more than a hundred laser transmitters and receivers to rotate and scan at the same time, which greatly increases material and human costs and reduces yield and reliability, making the advantages of MEMS solid-state LiDAR technology obvious. While improving the performance of LiDAR, the cost savings is also great, and at the same time the miniaturisation of the scanning structure greatly improves the stability of LiDAR. 

“The LiDAR is an indispensable sensor for advanced autonomous driving above L3, and on this, industry has reached a consensus. The solid-state laser has the advantages of high stability, high resolution, and low cost, and it can well meet the demand for OEMs,” said Mark Qiu, Co-founder and COO of RoboSense. “Reducing logistics costs and improving logistics efficiency is the mission of autonomous driving technology in the logistics industry. Alibaba and RoboSense both agree with this direction and we hope to increase our strengths jointly to promote mass production of unmanned logistics vehicles and put them into operation so that everyone from the community can benefit as soon as possible.”

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