Didi (滴滴), China’s largest ride-sharing platform, yesterday unveiled its self-driving concept car model Neuron, marking the firm’s foray into the already competitive EV market.
But aside from what the company touted as its L4 autonomous driving technology during its Open Day event, Neuron’s biggest highlight is arguably a robotic arm deployed inside the model’s cabin.
In a video clip posted online, Zhang Bo, CTO and CEO of Didi’s autonomous driving business unit, is seen sitting inside Neuron and interacting with the robotic arm.
According to multiple sources, the robotic arm is provided by Beijing-headquartered robotic startup Rokae (珞石机器人), one of the most established cobot manufacturers in China.
Rokae reportedly supplied a product belonging to its xMate ER series to showcase how robotics can perform tasks such as handling luggage, handing over bottled water and making wake-up calls.
The ER series consists of four models featuring six and seven degrees of freedom. With a working radius of 760mm or 850mm, the robot boasts a payload of 3kg or 7kg, according to a brochure of Rokae products.
Although it’s the first time the startup’s cobot is publicly seen being used for human-machine interaction inside a vehicle, it is no stranger to the automobile sector.
Rokae said its xMate flexible cobots are now widely adopted in sectors such as auto and auto parts, 3C, semiconductor, metal and plastic processing, scientific research, commercial services and healthcare, with a purpose to elevate output and quality, achieve flexible manufacturing and enhance personnel safety.