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Drones in China to Carry 1 Ton Packages

Drones in China to Carry 1 Ton PackagesDrones in China to Carry 1 Ton Packages

Drones capable of carrying more than a ton of goods to long-distance deliveries are part of plans by one of China’s biggest online retailers to develop a massive logistics network covering remote locations.

JD.com is the main competitor of Alibaba in Chinese e-commerce, albeit with a different business model. While Alibaba serves as a marketplace for producers, JD.com operates similarly to Amazon, selling goods directly through its logistic network.

The new network is soon to be expanded, having reached an agreement with the authorities in the northern Chinese province of Shaanxi, where it plans to test low-altitude drone deliveries, according to Russia Today.

It would span a 300 km radius and include hundreds of routes and drone bases, the company said Sunday in a statement.

Heavy-duty UAVs (drones) capable of delivering payloads weighing over 1 ton would be introduced to take goods to remote villages and agriculture produce back 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 logistics business group formed in April.

The company said it will partner with the Xi’an National Civil Aerospace Industrial Base to develop and manufacture drones. A joint drone campus will also host JD Logistics’ global headquarters and a cloud computing and big data center.

Drone use is slowly making a mark on retail logistics, even though hurdles remain such as air traffic regulations and the danger of collision with birds. The 1 ton cargo delivery pledged by JD.com is more than most of the drones currently available can carry, though models with even greater capabilities are in development.

 

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