Around the world, one story has led the news agenda this week – the rapid spread of coronavirus and the measures being taken by different countries to reduce its transmission. It has already had an impact on the automotive industry, leading to decisions such as the cancellation of the Geneva Motor Show and the postponement of Daimler's Annual Shareholders' Meeting. Meanwhile, Morgan Stanley has reportedly warned that the virus may send US auto sales down 9% this year.
An article from Popular Mechanics explores how self-driving technology might be used to help, following the example of Wuhan, where self-driving delivery startup Neolix is using its vans to deliver medical supplies and disinfect roadways. "Makers of autonomous vehicles have long been selling the benefits driver-free transportation [sic]," says the article. "But it took a devastating global pandemic to provide a compelling, real-world example."
And investors seem to agree. Neolix has just completed an A+ round of funding, raising nearly RMB 200 million from Lixiang Automotive and ADDOR Capital, alongside existing shareholders Yunqi Partners and Glory Ventures.