Forget drones. The future of deliveries may be robo-vans.
A Chinese startup called Neolix kicked off mass production of its self-driving delivery vehicles Friday — saying it’s the first company globally to do so — and has lined up giants such as JD.Com Inc. and Huawei Technologies Co. as customers. Neolix expects to deliver a thousand of the vehicles, which resemble tiny vans, within the first year as it broadens out.
The implications are potentially huge: Billionaire Jack Ma predicts there will be 1 billion deliveries a day in China within a decade and the commercialization of the technology could provide lessons for autonomous vehicles carrying passengers. Neolix isn’t alone in this space as Silicon Valley’s Nuro raised almost a billion dollars this year and is starting to deliver groceries in Arizona.