The first autonomous logistics line in China is here

Robotruck startup CORAGE announced today that it has participated in the construction of the world's first autonomous driving trunk logistics road - "Jiuquan to Mingshui Green Digital Special Highway", and will soon launch autonomous driving trunk logistics. long-distance scenario drive test and preparatory operation.


The special line is 430 kilometers long and is planned and designed by China Communications Construction Group. It is the first autonomous driving trunk logistics line in China. The dedicated line is a closed road and will be put into commercial operation after completion in 2025, and the vehicles will all be fully driverless hydrogen energy heavy trucks.


At present, the number of commercial vehicles in the country is about 40 million, accounting for 10.9% of the total number of vehicles in the country, but their carbon emissions account for nearly 65% ​​of all vehicle carbon emissions. Emission reduction of key models in all vehicles.


After the line is put into operation, it will further promote the development of autonomous driving and new energy commercial vehicles, and truly start the commercialization of autonomous driving in the trillion-level market of trunk logistics. In addition, the construction of this autonomous driving line has also brought a start-up company, Karui Zhixing, to the surface. Caruizhixing was founded by Tong Xianqiao, a serial entrepreneur in the autonomous driving industry. He previously served as the CEO of the well-known startup company Roadstar, and then left Roadstar to start a new business and enter the Robotruck market.


The dedicated line will run hydrogen energy heavy trucks, and Karui Zhixing has surfaced


The " Jiuquan-Mingshui Green Digital Special Highway " project (hereinafter referred to as Jiu-Ming Highway), which Karui Zhixing participated in the construction of, is located in the hinterland of the Hexi Corridor. It is a desert and uninhabited area with flat terrain, and the local area is rich in photovoltaic and wind power. Renewable energy can realize low-cost production of green hydrogen.


In the unique natural environment, it can also accelerate the landing of autonomous driving technology. First of all, the entire dedicated line is a closed road. The project plans to use hydrogen energy heavy trucks on this road, and build hydrogen refueling stations and transshipment yards at the end of the road.


Self-driving heavy trucks are fully driverless when driving on main roads, and will not be equipped with human drivers. Human participation is only required for hydrogen refueling or transfer and unloading. The hydrogenation time of a hydrogen-powered heavy truck is about 10 to 15 minutes, and only one fuel refill a day can effectively achieve a satisfactory cruising range.


According to the natural environment, logistics needs, and technical requirements of Jiu-Ming Highway, Karui Zhixing has designed and developed corresponding low-cost heavy-duty truck autonomous driving solutions. At present, Karui Zhixing has established in-depth cooperation with domestic leading new energy heavy truck manufacturers, and will officially launch a field road test in the Jiuquan area in the near future to prepare for future commercial operations.


Wang Bin, Dean of the Transportation Planning and Design Institute of CCCC First Highway Survey and Design Research Institute Co., Ltd., said that the Jiu-Ming Highway project has entered the experimental stage. It will be an experimental period from the second half of this year to next year. It is expected that the construction will be officially started within the next year. It will be officially put into operation in 2025, and the first batch of 600 vehicles will be put into operation.


According to reports, after the completion of the Jiu-Ming Highway in 2025, it will be officially put into commercial operation. The line is a closed road and will be transported by fully unmanned trucks.

The reason why Carui Zhixing can deeply participate in the construction of this Jiuming Highway is also due to its rich experience in the autonomous driving industry.


In terms of team and technology, Tong Xianqiao, the founder and CEO of Caruizhixing, once served as the CEO of the self-driving star startup Roadstar, and worked in the Apple special project team and the NVIDIA autonomous driving algorithm team. He is the first batch of domestic autonomous driving entrepreneurs. and forerunners.


Its core team members have worked for Tesla, NVIDIA, Baidu, Huawei, Weilai Automobile, and other companies, and have the industry's most advanced technology research and development level and the most extensive test operation experience.


In terms of financing, Karui Zhixing announced that it completed an angel round of financing of tens of millions of RMB at the beginning of the year. The investors are Chentao Capital, Fengyuan Capital, and Japan's PKSHA SPARX Algorithm Fund.


It is worth noting that Tong Xianqiao, the founder of Karuizhixing, once founded an autonomous driving company Roadstar, focusing on the Robotaxi field. But this time it started a new business but chose another completely different field - Robotruck.


Tong Xianqiao, founder and CEO of Caruizhixing, said that there are four main reasons for choosing Robotruck.


First, heavy trucks are mainly used to transport goods, and the requirements for safety and comfort are lower than that of manned people, so it is relatively easier to implement the technology; second, the application scenarios of heavy trucks are simpler than Robotaxi, and heavy trucks will not run like a city. The complex scene of CBD makes it easier for driverless technology to be implemented; thirdly, autonomous driving in trunk logistics is mainly used for freight transportation, which also has great economic value in reducing costs and increasing efficiency; fourthly, new energy is A trend in the automotive industry, the chassis of new energy vehicles is simpler and more flexible, which is more suitable for the research and development of autonomous driving technology.


Domestic self-driving trucks usher in a wave of entrepreneurship, and many new companies have been established


Recently, there has been a resurgence of domestic self-driving truck startups. Especially the Pony.ai series. According to incomplete statistics, there are at least three self-driving truck companies founded or participated by former Pony.ai employees, namely Qianhang Technology, Qingtian Zhika, and Xingang Technology.


In July 2021, Tao Ji, the veteran of Baidu's autonomous driving team, Sun Haowen, a member of the Pony.ai start-up team, and Ding Fei, the head of the technical travel field of IDG Capital, jointly founded a company specializing in L4-level (arterial logistics) autonomous driving. Truck startup. In August 2021, Zhao Ruixuan, the former vice president of Pony.ai, and Waymo technology boss Wang Qingzhou founded Xingang Technology, which mainly focuses on the logistics of L4 self-driving electric trucks.


At the end of 2021, Pan Zhenhao, CTO of Pony.ai, and Sun Youhan, head of planning and control of Pony.ai's US team, after leaving Pony.ai, founded the self-driving truck company Qingtian Zhica. In addition to the pony series, in the first half of this year, many industry leaders have left to start self-driving truck companies. The core employees of Zhijia Technology also founded Windrose, which focuses on new energy-heavy trucks, wire-controlled chassis, and powertrains.


Self-driving trucks are getting hotter


As more and more players flock to the autonomous driving track, the entire industry has become more and more popular. Compared with the high uncertainty of Robotaxi commercialization, the commercialization of self-driving trucks has more advantages, which is one of the reasons why self-driving trucks have become popular in recent years and are loved by the capital market. The entry of new players on this track will undoubtedly stir the pool of the entire industry to be more competitive and dynamic, but who can withstand the turbulent wave of changes on the road to entrepreneurship is unknown.

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