SILICON RUSH - Self driving trucks for freeway haulage logistics is all the rage at the moment for investors looking for the latest digital gold rush. WeRide joins Waabi, Zoox, Cruise, Kodiak, Pony.ai, Pronto.ai, Didi Chuxing, Waymo, Aurora, TuSimple and AutoX as they look for the elusive holy grail of AI on the road, somewhat blowing wildcard Tesla into the weeds. You can read more about these companies and the media coverage, and reviews, on this site. Strangely, even with the green hydrogen revolution taking place all over the world, there is as yet no energy vending system for these autonomous vehicles. It's competition as usual, in a world calling for collaboration.
Self-driving cars and trucks
may drive themselves, but development is driven by economics. They will
forecast to grow exponentially in the next two decades. How we deliver goods, the ownership of personal vehicles, ridesharing, public transportation – these all will take new shapes as
electric vehicles (AEVs) accelerate.
GOING THE DISTANCE - As of May 2021 WeRide's autonomous mileage has reached over 5,000,000 kilometers while the number is escalates every day. They secured another round of fundraising, raising some hundreds of $millions of dollars from IDG Capital, Homeric Capital, CoStone Capital, Cypress Star, Sky9 Capital, K3 Ventures and more. CMC Capital Partners, Qiming Venture Partners and Alpview Capital also participated in this round as existing partners - putting the company's value at $3.3 billion USD.
WeRide, founded in 2017, would also be the first company in China allowed to remove a human from the driver's seat, which, up to now, has been a government safety requirement. The company obtained a permit to operate the vehicles by remote control from authorities in Guangzhou this month. However, WeRide will keep a test controller inside the cars, usually in the back seat, during testing.
CREW - In-house built HD maps covering thousands of kilometers in multiple cities, with centimeter-level accuracy, detailed 3D geometric structures, as well as rich semantic information including lane, traffic control
WeRide said most of its tests were being conducted in a zone measuring about 1.83 sq. kilometers in Guangzhou that is fully covered by 5G signals. This helps reduce the average latency
- a measure of network delay - for WeRide cars to 13 milliseconds, according to the company. Less latency means a driverless car can respond more quickly.
icon21st Floor, Guanzhou Life Science Innovation Center
51 Luoxuan Rd., Guangzhou International Biotech Island
RECHARGING UNMANNED EVS FOR SMARTER CITIES
At the moment, the only system that would be capable of servicing such vehicles would be the proposed SmartNet™ dual fuel service stations, where such vehicles do not need human assistance to replenish their energy reserves, using modular energy vending.
Allied to this is PAYD (Pay As You Drive) billing, also seen as a necessary function for autonomous, unmanned, self-driving, robotic vehicles of the future, as part of the chicken and egg cure, for a better place to live.
SMART SERVICING FOR ROBOT VEHICLES - Those looking for a future proofed infrastructure for renewably sourced energy for electric vehicles, may want to consider the new breed of self driving passenger cars, taxis, and commercial trucks that will benefit from automated recharging if they are to be fully autonomous in operation - most especially unmanned robotic taxis and freight vehicles. These units are potentially safer in terms of hydrogen handling, than piped gas, offering an alternative energy network.
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