Megvii moves into logistics with AI-powered IoT platform
The system is named Hetu, or River Map, and has already been deployed by Alibaba online retailer Tmall to operate 500 warehouse robots, improving efficiency by 40 percent, as well as other Megvii partners. Alibaba is an investor in Megvii, and may increase its stake as the AI unicorn reportedly looks to raise another $500 million. Logistics is a huge industry in China, and Xinhua reports that the Research Center for Forecasting Science of the Chinese Academy of Sciences estimated it to be worth RMB 284.7 trillion (US$42 trillion) in 2018.
The company plans to invest RMB 2 billion ($300 million) to commercialize the platform, bringing its machine vision technology to a new vertical. Megvii Co-founder and CTO Tang Wenbin said that the company plans to connect more than 1 billion robots within five years.
Megvii acquired Beijing-based Ares Robot Technology in April, 2018, foreshadowing its increasing focus on robotics.
The company also recently demonstrated its facial biometric technology for device unlocking and payment authentication at CES.