Founded in 2015, Idriverplus is the first company in China to launch the commercialization of driverless technology. Velodyne Lidar has strategically teamed with Idriverplus to help their efforts for the mass production of commercial autonomous vehicles, which include passenger cars, street cleaners, and logistics vehicles.
Led by CEO Dr. Zhang Dezhao, Idriverplus’ driverless vehicles have accumulated test mileage exceeding 400,000 kilometers, far surpassing other domestic autonomous car manufacturers.
To learn more about Idriverplus and their exciting vision for driverless vehicles, we asked Dr. Zhang to discuss the company’s innovative autonomous driving products and how Velodyne technology factors into their product strategy.
Q: Idriverplus is an innovator in autonomous vehicles. Please share with our readers some background on your company.
A: Idriverplus is committed to becoming the world’s leading provider of intelligent vehicle technology solutions. We have been focused on developing the “brain” of a self-driving car. Our major R&D achievements have been in unmanned distribution logistics vehicles, unmanned sanitation vehicles, self-driving passenger cars, and more.
Q: Let’s look at each product area for Idriverplus. How is your company addressing logistics and distribution?
A: Our product called WOBIDA applies self-driving technology to the logistics and distribution industry. We created an automatic driving system combined with a cloud platform management system for the intelligence required in the last kilometer of logistics distribution. WOBIDA provides 360-degree whole-process monitoring and real-time information interaction as well as an intelligent storage cabinet for transporting goods. It delivers improved efficiency of logistics distribution and provides users with a safer and better distribution experience.
Q: Please discuss your unmanned street cleaning vehicles and where they are being used now.
A: Our cleaning vehicle is named Viggo. Idriverplus developed this unmanned system for a purely electric solution to intelligently sweep roads. During the cleaning process, Viggo can automatically track and avoid obstacles with stable and reliable performance and monitor real-time vehicle information.
At present, Viggo has been used in universities, factories, parks, an amusement park and city streets. It has been deployed in Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, Hebei, Zhejiang, Henan, Hunan and other provinces and cities with more than 100 units in operation. Additionally, Idriverplus has strategic cooperation partnerships in Singapore, Dubai, Malaysia, and other areas in Asia.
Q: What has been the response from communities that have seen the unmanned street cleaning vehicles?
A: According to residents, Viggo not only improves cleaning efficiency, but also elevates the appearance of the whole community. We are finding that children are generally curious about self-driving cars – especially Viggo.
Q: Tell us about the commercial autonomous car solution you are developing?
A: We currently have two main development paths we are pursuing. One is an SAE Level 4 vehicle that provides autonomous driving in closed parks and some public roads. We are also developing an advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) solution, mainly for AVP (automatic parking) and HWP (highway follow-up).
Q: How do you see Idriverplus AV products benefiting businesses and communities?
A: We have a vision for the future that autonomous driving is not only a means of transportation, but also a necessity of life. In logistics and distribution, we are committed to improving the logistics of the last kilometer. In sanitation, we are committed to helping cleaners improve their work efficiency. In the area of passenger cars, we are committed to building the strongest self-driving brain for safer roadways.
Q: Why did Idriverplus decide to use Velodyne lidar technology and what value do Velodyne sensors add to Idriverplus vehicles?
A: Velodyne Lidar’s products have better performance and stability in practical use, and their accuracy addresses demanding requirements. Lidar is indispensable for the development of autonomous driving technology. Technically, lidar’s perception capabilities are mainly used in laser mapping and positioning a car in its surrounding environment. Lidar is unlikely to be replaced in the long term. A more likely direction will be to combine lidar with other sensors, also known as multi-sensor fusion. As autonomous products are put on public roads, the platform will be strengthened by having some redundancy capability. In this case, the sensor solution is fusion, not substitution.
Q: What is next for Idriverplus in using Velodyne technology?
A: We will use Velodyne’s advanced Velarray solution in our development program to build a solid foundation for mass production of an autonomous vehicle.
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