The medium-duty trucks are equipped with the company’s Level 4 full-stack self-driving system, which includes DeepRoute.ai’s sensing solution, DeepRoute-Sense, and perception technology — engineered specifically for urban areas.
Zhou sees DeepRoute.ai’s autonomous technology as a great way to combat the fatigue and distracted driving among delivery drivers, which often leads to accidents on the road.
The CEO also contends that the company’s strategy aligns well with the regulatory and urban infrastructure plans being put in place in the U.S. to support commercial usage of autonomous vehicles.
Still, Zhou believes in a more localized, targeted approach to the U.S. market, as opposed to a business strategy centered on the mass deployment of autonomous trucks.
“That’s just … not ready yet, but if we just do some special routes and special times, especially for the medium-duty truck … normally they just drive the same way, day by day, same times, and this can limit your risk,” he said.
DeepRoute.ai expects its self-driving commercial trucks to be fully operational in Shenzhen by early in the first quarter of 2022. The company’s target commercial client base in the U.S. consists of convenience stores and supermarkets through strategic partnerships, said Zhou, with California being the company’s first target market.
“We cannot just do a service for only one scenario,” he explained. “That’s why we collaborate with our partners, our local partners, so we do this business together.”