Meituan, a leading local living service platform in China, attended the 2022 World Intelligent Connected Vehicle Conference (WICV) on September 18, where it unveiled a new generation of vending vehicles. The company also announced that its National Automated Delivery Vehicle Operation Center is located in Shunyi District, Beijing.
During the conference, Xia Huaxia, vice president of Meituan and general manager of its automated delivery vehicle department, gave a speech. Xia believes that high-level automated driving is still in the period of large-scale regional business exploration, and will achieve large-scale business operations in three stages.
The first stage is to complete the technical exploration and verify the technical feasibility of each application scenario from approximately 2016 to 2021. The second stage, which will take place from 2021 to 2025, will complete the large-scale regional commercial exploration , with automated driving technology, policies and business operations. models mature; The third stage, from 2025, will see automated driving enter the phase of large-scale implementation and operation in full scenarios.
However, the large-scale implementation of vending urgently requires greater technology maturity. Compared with automated driving trucks and robotaxis, automated delivery vehicles always face more diverse obstacles and more complex traffic situations when operating in the city. For example, automatic delivery vehicles often have to cross extremely narrow roads and frequently encounter various traffic violations.
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On the conference site, Xia posted a video of Meituan’s automated delivery vehicle provide day-to-day operating services in a local area. In the video, on its way back to the station after completing the delivery task, an automated delivery vehicle successfully avoided several vehicles and several reversing pedestrians through repeated decelerations and dodges and a repeated fine adjustment of driving direction. He also safely crossed a narrow stretch of road more than ten meters long with many vehicles parked on both sides.
Xia said, “For high-level autonomous driving technology to truly enter the third stage and realize large-scale commercial operation in comprehensive scenarios, it still needs to face three challenges. It must first solve the long-term problem of self-driving, then improve automatic charging and door-to-door delivery that improve user experience, and maintain and recharge these vehicles in time. The solution to these problems still requires the joint efforts of the whole industry chain.
In recent years, on-demand retail has become a popular consumer trend, and the scale of the on-demand retail market has increased. According to a forecast by the World Economic Forum, compared to 2021, the global demand for last-mile distribution in urban areas will increase by 78%, the number of vehicles used for vending will increase by 36%, and the market for vending will reach a scale of trillion yuan.