Chinese e-commerce giant JD.com testing delivery drones outside Beijing
After Japanese delivery service Rakuten and San Francisco based startup Zipline, Chinese e-commerce company JD.com has launched consumer goods delivery trial using drones. The company has begun testing delivery using drones in rural locations outside the capital city of Beijing. According to different claims by different websites, JD.com has started trails with either five or 30 drone fleet.
The drones are attached with a box (described as a tiny telephone both) attached to the drone, which can carry a payload of up to 15kgs to a distance of about 50kms.
The drones are commissioned primarily to let the Beijing based online retailer (that also handles its own logistics) to reach far flung areas of the country where delivery through normal transport is difficult and very time consuming.
Working of the drone delivery system is simple. When an order is placed, the package is sent out from the distribution wing to the drone point, where the package is loaded on the drone. The drone then leaves the warehouse to deliver the package to a village promoter, who then take is from there to reach the package to the ultimate customers in the village.
JD.com says this is a project in the trial run, and will take a long time to be a full proof system. The company is investing millions of dollars to have a fleet for more than 100 delivery drone operating in the next one year.