Beijing’s efforts to promote technological adaptation in the logistics industry by supporting the use of new energy vehicles and autonomous driving were highlighted at the recently concluded meeting of the International Business Leaders Advisory Council for the Mayor of Beijing.
The meeting invited global entrepreneurs to offer advice and insight into different aspects of city planning.
Mayor of Beijing Chen Jining said during the meeting last week that plans for new energy vehicle use in the logistics industry reflect China’s wider efforts to boost renewable energy use, and self-driving is an inevitable trend in which Beijing plans to join.
“It will be great for reducing near-road pollution exposure and protecting our environment,” Chen said. “In addition, self-driving cars will benefit the logistics industry by reducing costs and enhancing efficiency.”
The announcement follows a series of efforts to develop automated logistics operations. On May 29, e-commerce giant JD unveiled its self-driving truck technology.
The South China Morning Post said JD’s highly automated truck has achieved accumulated 17,000 hours of test driving on public highways, citing Xiao Jun, who heads JD’s unmanned logistics sector.
Xiao said that more work is required on how the truck deals with traffic lights despite its open road driving capability.
“We are planning on further cooperation with companies like JD,” Chen said.
Similar to JD, online electric appliances provider Suning.com Co Ltd announced it has completed the first test of its level four autonomous truck. At level four, the driver manages all operations on the road before the car joins the highway. Suning co-developed the truck with self-driving technology company PlusAI.
In addition, smaller businesses such as electric car startup Nio and tech firm G7 are also stepping into the market.
“There are more than a hundred logistics companies in Beijing right now and we look forward to more tech breakthroughs in the field,” Chen said at the meeting.
Beijing’s supply chain innovation, including green energy and self-driving adaptation, requires more policy support, said Victor K. Fung, chairman of global supply chain company Fung Group, at the meeting.
“A more sufficient supply chain calls for fewer limits to market entry,” he said.
Fung advised strengthening coordination between manufacturers and service providers to foster a better logistics business environment.
“For future development, we suggest Beijing supports standardization in supply chain management to better participate in global governance,” Fung said.