Hyundai invests in last-mile deliveryHyundai Motor announced its investment in last-mile delivery start-ups Mesh Korea and China-based Immotor on Wednesday.
The conglomerate invested 22.5 billion won ($20 million) in Mesh Korea. The amount of the investment in Immotor was kept confidential due to contract conditions.
Last-mile delivery refers to the final stage of the logistics process - moving goods from a distribution center to the customer’s doorstep.
According to the automaker, last-mile delivery is one of the most important stages of the logistics process as it is the point when couriers interact face-to-face - or robot-to-face - with customers. Hyundai hopes to make the business a part of its future growth engine.
“Leading global automakers are testing unmanned-delivery businesses using self-driving cars,” the automaker said in a statement Wednesday. “Some are also establishing new affiliates dedicated to offering technology-driven logistics services.”
Mesh Korea, founded in 2013, already has its own software algorithm that can match delivery orders with couriers considering the distance between couriers and customers as well as traffic. The automaker plans on applying the algorithm to its self-driving cars to trial un-manned delivery.
The automaker said it will also bring in its logistics arm Hyundai Glovis to make the logistics algorithm smarter. Shenzhen-based Immotor also focuses on last-mile delivery, but by managing the batteries of the electric motorbikes used in the process.
The start-up monitors the battery status of electric motorbikes used by couriers and their driving routes to inform them when and at which battery station they should change batteries. According to data from Hyundai Motor, the company has established roughly 500 battery changing stations across 16 cities in China including Beijing, Chengdu and Guangzhou.
BY KIM JEE-HEE [firstname.lastname@example.org]