Driverless in Seattle
Driverless delivery vehicle startup Neolix is raking in new customers as cities in China are under full lockdown due to the coronavirus outbreak. The company has gotten orders for 200 tiny robotic vehicles, up from 125 since last May, according to Bloomberg, including commerce juggernauts Alibaba and JD.com.
The company’s small autonomous delivery vehicles have proven extremely useful during the virus outbreak: they’re capable of delivering medical supplies, doing food runs for overworked health workers — they can even spray disinfectant in city streets, according to CNET.
So useful, even the government is willing to cover 60 percent of the cost of each vehicle — and not just from Neolix, but from a host of other similar companies in the country as well, Bloomberg reports.
“The industry has entered into a fast expansion phase because of the virus,” Neolix founder Yu Enyuan told Bloomberg.
Their big advantage: while delivery drivers are quarantined or sick at home, the adorable autonomous vans keep driving. “People realize that such vehicles can get things done when it is risky for a human being to do so,” Yu added.
READ MORE: Driverless Delivery Van Startup Sees Demand Surge Amid Outbreak [Bloomberg]
More on the virus: Here’s How Bad the U.S. Coronavirus Testing Crisis Really Is