Leading China e-commerce companies JD.com and Meituan have selected the Nvidia Jetson AGX Xavier platform to power their next-generation autonomous delivery robots.
Over the past decade, China’s e-commerce has grown to more than 40 percent of the world’s online transactions, accounting for hundreds of billions of dollars in trade annually.
To support this tremendous growth, China’s leading e-commerce companies are developing AI delivery robots to move goods to and from warehouses, speed up last-mile deliveries and deliver products to consumers and businesses.
Next-generation delivery robots require massive computing performance in a small package. Various sensors, including multiple high-resolution cameras and lidar, must perceive the world around them to localise, path plan and move in complex, dynamic, city environments.
They need to identify, and respond to, pedestrians, cars, traffic lights, signs and other objects, all in real time.
The Jetson AGX Xavier handles real-time processing of all of these computing tasks, so that delivery robots can perform safely and autonomously.
Capable of up to 32 trillion operations per second, the module delivers the processing capability of a powerful workstation with greater than 10x the energy efficiency of its predecessor yet fits in the palm of a hand.
Since autonomous machines such as delivery robots are software-defined, it’s easy to improve performance and add more functionalities through updates.
The Jetson AGX Xavier platform comes with the Nvidia JetPack SDK, an AI development software solution, which includes the latest versions of CUDA, cuDNN and TensorRT, as well as high-level software code to simplify and accelerate development.
JD.com is China’s largest retailer, with more than 300 million customers and the largest in-house e-commerce logistics network covering 99% of the population.
It’s the first e-commerce company in the world to launch a fully-automated B2C fulfilment centre and commercially deployed drone delivery.
To satisfy growing delivery demands, JD.com began trials of autonomous delivery robots last year on university and business campuses.
JD’s delivery robot has multiple high-definition sensors connected to a Jetson AGX Xavier to provide 360-degree real-time vision and perception processing for full situational awareness of the environment.
By doing this, the delivery robot can easily navigate crowded streets, autonomously plan its route to customers, avoid obstacles, and recognise traffic lights.
Meituan Dianping is the world’s largest on-demand food delivery company. Combining the business models of Uber Eats, Yelp and Groupon, it works with more than 400,000 local businesses.
Meituan Dianping launched its Xiaodai (meaning “pouch”) autonomous delivery vehicle to move meals from restaurants to consumers.
Xiaodai is being tested in three locations, including Joy City Mall in Beijing’s Chaoyang District, Lenovo’s offices in Shenzhen, and the city of Xiong’an.
While the delivery vehicle has a small size and battery, the amount of processing required for sensing, positioning and planning is the same as large unmanned vehicles and relies heavily on high-performance computing from Jetson AGX Xavier.