Self-Driving Truck Firm Plus, Rokin Logistics to Open China’s First Smart Heavy Truck Route

(Yicai Global) Oct.

21 — US self-driving truck startup Plus and Chinese smart logistics service provider Rokin Logistics have established a strategic cooperation to jointly operate China’s first smart heavy-duty truck dedicated route. The parties will open a main logistics line with great demand of freight transportation in eastern China using FAW Jiefang’s self-driving heavy-duty truck J7 equipped with PlusDrive, an autonomous driving system developed by Plus, they said in a cooperation agreement announced on Oct.

19. Plus and Rokin said that the route will connect the Yangtze River Delta and the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, which are heavily trafficked due to high freight demand and transportation of general cargo and cold chain products.

The pair did not disclose the names of the cities along the route. According to the plan, after the operation of the first line has been stabilized, Rokin will purchase more smart heavy trucks equipped with PlusDrive and gradually expand lines to the whole country. This is the first time that Plus’ level four self-driving technology is applied to supervised smart heavy trucks, Rong Li, general manager at Plus China, told Yicai Global.

PlusDrive integrates multiple smart functions such as driver fatigue monitoring and safety stop to ensure reliability. The system has also included for the first time on mass-produced heavy trucks intelligent driving functions including automatic lane change and obstacle avoidance. Smart heavy trucks equipped with PlusDrive are mass-produced, as they come with the system already pre-installed, and have the qualification to operate on the road, while previous self-driving vehicles have not achieved these capabilities, a spokesperson of Plus told reporters.

There is no other case of mass-produced smart heavy trucks operating in a trunk logistics line in China, they said. But Plus did not disclose any future mass production plans of heavy trucks equipped with PluDrive as “it is still too early to talk about it,” the spokesperson noted. Founded in 2016, Plus develops automotive grade pre-installed and mass-produced self-driving systems for original equipment manufacturers, and provides after-installed self-driving solutions for existing vehicles.

The company has carried out cooperative business in China, the US, and Europe.

It signed an agreement with e-commerce giant Amazon to provide at least 1,000 sets of PlusDrive systems for Amazon’s long-distance logistics fleets.

Editors: Tang Shihua, Futura Costaglione