ZongMu Technology pivots from unmanned driving to EV-charging robotics

The company also sets sights on a foray into low-speed driverless vehicles to help automate in-park logistics, in an apparent bid to increase revenue streams.

ZongMu Technology (纵目科技), an autonomous driving tech startup, unveiled its EV-charging robot FlashBot recently, Chinese tech news portal IT Bear reported today.

The Shanghai-based firm debuted this black-and-white product, which it said has L4-grade autonomous driving capacity and has a 104KWh battery power storage.

According to Tang Rui, founder and CEO of ZongMu, the robot can provide intelligent recharging services to EVs, effectively relieving the “pain points” in power replenishment at industrial or car parks.

“Currently, FlashBot will become the ideal product to spur the commercialization of automated valet parking within walled-off industrial parks.”

Automated valet parking, or AVP for short, is a slow-speed unmanned driving technology often found in valet parking and self-driving delivery carts.

Tang Rui, founder and CEO of ZongMu Technology

He added that by combining the mobility of autonomous robots with power batteries, one can better meet the demand for charging services within a broader scope of time and space.

Inadequate charging infrastructure

As EVs proliferate in China, a host of issues has also arisen, most notably the lack of access to charging piles and an inadequate charging infrastructure.

This shortage has prompted companies large and small to turn to mobile robotics for innovative EV charging solutions.

For instance, energy service provider NaaS (能链) rolled out an orange-and-white mobile robot charger last year, enticed by the potential of a multi-billion-dollar market.

ZongMu is the latest autonomous driving startup to venture into this emerging field.

A bid to boost revenue

Founded in 2013 in Shanghai’s Zhangjiang High-Tech Park, it has been committed to the development and monetization of advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS).

It supplies its products to car makers like Great Wall Motor and Geely and Changan Automobile.

The company also sets sights on a foray into low-speed driverless vehicles to help automate in-park logistics, in an apparent bid to increase revenue streams.

Despite its unicorn status, ZongMu faces challenges on the capital front. It booked consecutive net losses for several years, clouding its commercial outlook.

Worse still, it failed in its attempt last year to list on the STAR Market of Shanghai Stock Exchange. The last fundraising deal, a Serie E round, raked in 1 billion yuan (US$140 million).

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Ni Tao

Ni Tao is the founder and editor-in-chief of cnrobopedia. Prior to cnrobopedia, he had a full decade of experience with a major state-run English-language newspaper as a tech reporter and opinion writer. He is also a communications specialist, having provided consultancy services to established firms like Siemens, Philips, ABinBev, Diageo, Trip.com Group (Nasdaq: TCOM, HK: 9961), Jianpu Technology (NYSE: JT) and a handful of domestic startups. A graduate of Fudan University, he writes widely about China's business and tech scenes and other topics for global publications including South China Morning Post, SupChina, The Diplomat, CGTN, Banking Technology, among others, and tries to impart his experience to students at Fudan University Journalism School, where he is a part-time lecturer. When he's not writing about robotics, you can expect him to be on his beloved Yanagisawa saxophones, trying to play some jazz riffs, often in vain and occasionally against the protests of an angry neighbor. Get in touch with him by dropping a line at nitao0927@gmail.com.

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