BEIJING - An online company, JD.com, Inc., is testing heavyload drones that can move payloads weighing 2,000 lbs.
JD.com says it has reached an agreement with the provincial government of Shaanxi to build China’s largest low-altitude drone logistics network.
Spanning a 300 kilometer radius, the network will include hundreds of routes and drone air bases throughout the entire province for e-commerce shipments and more. Heavy-load drones are expected to be able to carry more than a ton, transporting high-quality products to remote areas and agricultural produce to cities.
“JD.com will be the first in the world to test drone delivery on this scale. We envision a network that will be able to efficiently transport goods between cities, and even between provinces, in the future,” said Wang Zhenhui, CEO of JD Logistics, the company’s newly-formed logistics business group.
In recent months, JD.com has struck deals with Western furniture manufacturers, and could conceivably use the technology for deliveries. Along with competitor Alibaba, JD.com dominates China's online retailing.
In April, JD.com formed JD Logistics, which says it is exploring ways to provide its services to shippers and other partners, including international logistics providers. JD believes its state-of-the art logistics technology will become increasingly important to the global logistics industry.
“This is a milestone not only for JD, but for the entire transportation industry as we extend our logistics services to other shippers on and off of JD.com,” Wang said.
JD.com will also establish a research and development campus in partnership with the Xi’an National Civil Aerospace Industrial Base (XCAIB), where unmanned systems will be developed, manufactured and tested. The campus will be the first of its kind in China, and will include a global headquarters for JD Logistics, a center for unmanned systems, and a facility for JD’s cloud computing and big data operations. XCAIB will provide 5 kilometers of pipeline airspace, 1,500 square-meters of drone R&D space, and more than 30 acres for flight tests, greatly increasing JD’s drone testing and deployment capabilities.
The partnership is expected to help promote economic development in Shaanxi by providing more high-tech employment and modernize industries in the region.
In April, JD.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:JD), China’s largest online retailer, today announced the establishment of JD Logistics, a new business group under JD.com, which will leverage the company’s advanced technology and logistics expertise to provide smart supply chain and logistics services to businesses across a wide range of industries. Zhenhui Wang, Senior Vice President of JD.com and Head of Fulfillment Operations, will serve as CEO of JD Logistics, reporting directly to Richard Liu, Chairman and CEO of JD.com.
“In the 10 years since JD.com launched China’s first B2C logistics network, we have redefined what consumers expect from an e-commerce experience,” said Mr. Liu. “This move is a major step in our vision to make technology even more central to what we do over the next 12 years. Leveraging our unparalleled access to data from every step of the e-commerce process, from ordering to delivery and after-sales service, JD Logistics will use AI, big data and automation to once again redefine the potential of e-commerce logistics. We hope JD Logistics can revolutionize China’s commercial infrastructure and become the global model for smart supply chain solutions.”
JD Logistics will provide business partners with comprehensive supply chain solutions, including warehousing, transportation, delivery, after-sales service, as well as logistics services, including smart and cross-border logistics, among others.
JD.com has one of the largest fulfillment infrastructure of any e-commerce company in the world. As of the end of 2016, JD.com operated seven “Asia No. 1” projects, which are among the largest and most automated smart fulfillment centers in Asia. JD.com also operates 256 warehouses, as well as 6,906 delivery stations and pickup stations across China, which are staffed by its professionally trained employees, providing nationwide last-mile delivery service.