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Udelv unveils new autonomous delivery van and agrees ‘major contracts’ with Walmart, Baidu and others

Udelv has unveiled the latest version of its autonomous delivery van at the ongoing Consumer Electronics Show.

The company also announced what it described as “major contracts” with US supermarket giant Walmart and Baidu, which is like the Google of China.

Udelv’s autonomous delivery van says the latest model of its self-driving delivery vans feature “new state-of-the-art technology”. 

Udelv says its “Newton” vehicle is “today’s most advanced autonomous delivery van”. The launch follows months of close collaboration between Baidu and Udelv on Apollo 3.5.

Baidu releases version 3.5 of Apollo’s open autonomous driving platform at CES 2019. The system will be first featured in Udelv’s latest Newton model.

Udelv will continue to use future versions of the Apollo platform modules to build its own autonomous driving algorithms for a range of delivery-specific situations in unstructured environments.

The Newton follows, Udelv’s first generation ADV model, which has demonstrated impressive results, having successfully completed over 1200 deliveries in the San Francisco Bay Area for multiple clients.

Following this traction, Udelv signed a slew of recent deals, including deployment trials with Walmart and XL Parts, as well as signing Japan’s Marubeni Corporation as a strategic investor to accelerate Udelv’s scaling process.

The autonomous delivery van company has particularly seen strong uptake in the food and grocery delivery sector, having attracted partnerships with the likes of San Francisco online grocer Farmstead, not-for-profit meal delivery organization Second Harvest Food Bank and Bay Area-based Draeger’s Market.

The partnerships are part of Udelv’s strategy to use advanced technology to shorten its development cycle, accelerate innovation and facilitate its ability to scale.

They will cater to what Udelv says is its “aggressive production-level expansion in several states outside California”.

Udelv CEO Daniel Laury said: “Udelv’s mission is to reinvent traditional delivery models by developing the world’s best self-driving delivery technology. With our new shape-shifting cargo space technology, we are going to bring the most innovative technology to market.

“To date, with its automated cargo van, Udelv has proven its capacity to successfully address the delivery market in the United States in both the last and middle-mile segments.

“We’re the world’s most advanced autonomous delivery company on public roads and America’s top retailers trust us to deliver convenience and savings to their customers. This confidence is a massive driver of business from investors and partners internationally, and is being demonstrated with our most recent collaborations.”

Up to 100 Udelv ADVs will be deployed throughout 2019 for customers who have ordered the vehicles. Pre-orders are now open for 2020.