- Chinese company JD.com has been using drones as a delivery option in four pilot regions in China since 2016
- JD.com will soon launch 150 drone facilities to expand this offering
JD.com, China’s biggest online retailer and e-commerce giant, started piloting delivery of parcels by drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles, in June 2016.
The pilot in four regions of China, for which JD.com has government permission, helps the retailer efficiently service its large client base.
JD.com is building 150 drone launch facilities in Sichuan to expand on its drone parcel delivery service. The facilities should be operational by 2020.
The use of unmanned aerial vehicles in product delivery benefits the company and customers. For JD.com, it reduces transport costs by a substantial 70% compared to conventional truck delivery. Customers receive their deliveries faster, sometimes within 24 hours, even in hard-to-reach areas.
JD.com has decided not to use drones in megacities at the moment, although its competitors are doing so. The retailer says drone parcel delivery is, for now, most appropriate for customers who live in remote areas not easily or quickly accessible by conventional delivery methods. Drones can operate with less difficulty in rural areas that are not built up.
The drones manufactured by JD.com can carry parcels up to 50kg, although there are plans for drones that can carry heavier weights, up to 500kg.
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