China’s JD goes step ahead of Amazon, works on drones delivery of heavy cargo


Nowadays making drone is not a rocket science. Almost all companies are working behind the concept of drone delivery. But when it comes to action, Chinese firms are on the forefront.

Now Chinese retail giant, JD has rolled up its sleeve to launch drone delivery system, which will connect major cities to villages and bring down the logistics cost. Unlike US based Amazon, which plans to provide door to door delivery, JD is trying to connect top cities to rural areas.

The firm is planning to make a drone, which can carry as much as 2000 pounds of weight, parallel to the capacity of a chopper.

The drone will deliver the heavier items from one centre to other to save time and delivery cost, while last mile delivery will be done by delivery man. It will reduce the delivery cost by 70 percent and delivers in a fraction of time.

“In every village, the company has a delivery man and he will take the parcels (delivered by drone) to different houses,” said Richard Liu, CEO of JD. It will allow to offer delivery services in out-of-the-way locations, without putting up with high logistics costs.

“Today we have over 70,000 delivery men working on the street. It’s high cost. If you can use robotics to deliver a parcel, the cost will be very low,” he added.

JD appears to have surpassed Amazon in terms of drone technology. The company claims to have built the fastest delivery system in the e-commerce world, and says 92 percent of the orders placed by their 200 million-plus users are delivered on the same day or the following day of the order.

Development story of JD drone

Online giant will test its drone technology drone which capable of carrying one ton of cargo for deliveries to and from remote parts of the country in the northwestern Chinese province of Shaanxi.

JD has reached an agreement with the local government to test a low-altitude drone logistics network. Stretching over a 186-mile radius across Shaanxi, the drone logistics network will service hundreds of flight routes and air bases designed to optimize shipping online orders.

It will take another 2-3 years to deliver in tons at a time, but the delivery of food from agricultural centres in rural China to cities is going to be possible soon.

Last year JD started its drone delivery program in four provinces Jiangsu, rural Beijing, Sichuan and Guangxi of China. The Company has been active in 20 fixed routes till January 2017, but planning to expand it to 100 by end of this year.

JD is also planning to open a research and development center with the Xi’an National Civil Aerospace Industrial Base to design and manufacture drones. The research center will include 30 acres of land to test its aircraft.

When it comes to Amazon, the drone delivery isn’t possible until 2020 as their Federal Aviation Administration continues to craft rules and figure out a national low-altitude air traffic control system solution. Amazon has got the permission to use drone technology in UK but only in some limited areas.

JD is the second largest ecommerce company in China after Alibaba group and has 20 percent of holding in online retail market share of China while Alibaba claims to have 44 percent.

Image Credit: Jd.com

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