Alibaba is preparing for the production of robotic couriers this year
In contrast to the concept of vending machine and testing cars in the modern metropolis, the idea of Alibaba in the field of robots was first less futuristic and were mostly confined to their own warehouses (like Amazon). But now the Chinese giant in the field of Internet sales, introduced robomobile-delivering the goods using a lidar for navigation.
Are these machines in cooperation with the company RoboSense — latest develops computer vision systems, with which the autopilot builds a three-dimensional map of the surrounding space. The company noted that robomobile type G Plus (both passenger and cargo), significantly reduce the shipping costs due to the transition to unmanned logistics and can be produced commercially. Cars and trucks can be equipped with various intelligent devices for courier purposes, to act as a mobile station in a shipment of goods, point of sale coffee and other retail scenarios.
In the car Cainiao G Plus actually from Alibaba, there are three RS of lidar-LiDAR-M1Pre: two in front and one behind, which, according to the manufacturer, will provide very high quality 3D perception of the environment when riding. The technology allows the car to clearly see the direction of movement: shape, distance, azimuth, speed, direction the movement of pedestrians, cars, trucks, and so forth, as well as the exact region to move — all of this ensures a smooth flow of Autonomous cars in difficult road situations.
In fact, Cainiao G Plus is a courier on wheels designed to deliver packages and food in a relaxed (and convenient pedestrian pace): the maximum speed of the robot will be up to 15 km/hour, and will be reduced to 10 km/h if there are people around or cars. Such a delivery when it reaches the destination can automatically upload the parcel or give the user the ability to enter a PIN to get the goods. Cainiao G Plus can be equipped with a number of different sized containers. Currently, the robot is tested at the headquarters of Alibaba in Hangzhou, and its commercial production, as the company claims, will begin this year.
An important feature of the robot used lidar is the lack of bulky mechanical moving mirrors. RoboSense calls his solution, solid state or MEMS lidar LiDAR lasers they sent a lot of very small mirrors combined in MEMS (micro-electro-mechanical system). This scheme requires only a few laser emitters and receivers to scan the environment, and the resolution is very high (vertical — 0,2°).
In traditional mechanical multibeam lidar to achieve the same effect would have required hundreds of laser transmitters and receivers, simultaneously rotating and scanning, which greatly increases costs, reduces productivity and reliability. The technology of MEMS LiDAR beyond superior performance, compact size and improved stability, allows to achieve significant savings.
Alibaba has also introduced a smart Inbox Cainiao box, which users can install at the front door of his apartment. It uses facial recognition technology to unlock the lock by carriers and users, and is controlled from a smartphone. Owners can even remotely control the temperature inside the mailbox to delivered the food was warm or cold.
In advertising the new device Alibaba asks the question: what if the courier will come to the middle of the VR dancing or to open the door uncomfortable for other reasons? The courier can leave the parcel in a smart box. However, Cainiao box is merely a concept, without a specific release date.