The Detroit-based company, Quadrobot, is taking its mail-delivery service out on the roads of China. The new startup company said that it hopes to begin self-driving tests in Michigan and China later in the year with its Quadrobot U1.
The vehicle is tiny and has four-wheel steering, all-wheel-drive, and sits on a modular skateboard-style platform. The car is fully electric and has 47 horsepower to handle any last-mile delivery needs. Last-mile deliveries are any deliveries made in local neighborhoods or downtown areas. They aren’t considered cross-country vehicles that bring packages to and from various regions. This new concept is one of the latest crazes for self-driving startup companies because deliveries are usually shorter and don’t usually require travel on the highway.
Humans with Autonomy
The first of the U1 tests are going to feature a human inside the vehicle to drive, but the system is also autonomous and can kick in to brake or steer if the driver makes a mistake, such as taking a wrong turn. The human inside the vehicle is also going to deliver the packages that sit onboard the robotic vehicle. While they do their job, the U1 can follow them along the street, similar to a pet. Along with such, Quadrobot is also working with suppliers to help it develop a charging system that charges faster to fully charge the battery in about 40 minutes. A full battery charge is enough for a 12-hour day delivering products.
Quadrobot is focused on sending 2,000 of these self-driving vehicles to Chine to test the equipment later in the year. The cars are going to handle package deliveries to the south coast in that country.
Along with such, 30 vehicles are planned to stay in the US to deliver packages in Detroit and the surrounding area. The company wants to hire 50 people for assembly plants in Michigan with China handling production at their end, as well with 200 workers.