Will you soon be receiving a package from a driverless delivery van?
While a great number of companies in China are struggling to survive during the coronavirus outbreak, one business is experiencing the biggest demand surge since the manufacturing of its products began last May: Beijing-based Neolix.
The startup manufactures autonomous delivery vehicles and, over the past couple of months, has booked orders for over 200 vehicles whereas before January, it had only produced 125 units in total. Now, Neolix has a growing collection of customers like Alibaba Group and Holding Ltd. who want to reduce the physical contact of their employees with customers and are likewise suffering from being understaffed due to quarantines.
According to the startup’s founder, Yu Enyuan, the driverless vans are being ordered to bring medical supplies to hospitals, disinfect streets and deliver food to customers. After having more opportunities to observe and interact with the work of such technology, Yu states that people are beginning to “realize that such vehicles can get things done when it is risky for a human being to do so.”
Like the autonomous vehicle industry in China, the country’s digital services economy has also seen an increase in demand as customers try to reduce unnecessary physical contact with other people.
This trend in China likely prefaces what will be seen across the rest of the world; as the virus outbreak spreads, autonomous vehicle companies will very likely experience an upsurge in demand. RGA
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