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Alibaba Unveils Delivery Robot to Meet ‘Last-Mile’ Demand

By Ding Yi / Sep 18, 2020 05:05 PM / Business & Tech

Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba has unveiled an autonomous logistics robot which will be used by its logistics affiliate Cainiao in an attempt to meet the logistical demands associated with the last-mile of any delivery.

The robot, named Xiaomanlv, meaning “little workaholic donkey” in Chinese, is able to plan delivery routes in crowded areas, identify obstacles, predict pedestrians’ intended movements and operate with weak or even no GPS signal thanks to the adoption of deep learning technology, high-definition positioning and heterogeneous computing, Alibaba said in a statement released Thursday.

Xiaomanlv can transport 50 packages at a time and cover 62 miles on a single charge, with its application scenarios mainly focusing on communities, campuses and business zones, Alibaba said, estimating that the robot can deliver as many as 500 packages a day.

Consumers can select a preferred timeslot for their deliveries using either the Cainiao or Taobao mobile apps, and the packages delivered to designated stations can then be accessed with a passcode, according to the statement.

In recent years, Chinese food delivery companies have begun testing robot-enabled deliveries in order to reduce costs and enhance efficiency. In February, Meituan deployed a fleet of autonomous vehicles to send grocery orders to customers in some parts of Beijing in order to reduce human contact during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Contact reporter Ding Yi (yiding@caixin.com)

Related: Alibaba Launches Palm-Sized Cloud Computer With ‘Almost Unlimited Computing Resources’


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