JD.com to build drones to carry 1 ton shipments

JD.com have reached an agreement with the local government of Shaanxi to build China’s largest low-altitude drone logistics network.

JD.com are the largest retailer in China and they’re drones will be similarly sized, these are not your Amazon drones with a 5 lb cargo capacity, JD.com’s drones will be able to autonomously carry over a ton in payload – they’re going to be enormous. The aim is to carry ecommerce goods to remote outlying areas and return laden with farm produce to the the cities.

I’m not sure I’d want to be under the flight path of a drone laden with 48″ televisions, not to see a ton of soybeans making their way back to the city as it passed overhead of me, but then realistically there are likely to be a ton of rules drawn up and none of us worry too much when light aircraft pass by overhead.

“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.”
– Wang Zhenhui, CEO of JD Logistics

JD Logistics is the company’s newly-formed logistics business group, operates the largest e-commerce logistics infrastructure in China. JD with than 236 million customers began developing their own logistics network in 2007 because existing infrastructure in China wasn’t sufficient to achieve consistent, high-quality delivery service of products to customers around the country. Today, JD.com has nationwide network of automated fulfillment centers, hundreds of warehouses and thousands of delivery stations, covering 98% of China’s population. With more than 65,000 delivery personnel, JD.com is able to provide same- or next-day delivery service to a population of 600 million.

JD.com aim to build a world class logistics which will benefit the entire transportation industry as they extend their logistics services to other shippers on and off of JD.com. They forecast that their state-of-the art logistics technology will become increasingly important to the global logistics industry as a whole.

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I'm not surprised that they've designed it to deliver to remote areas. That's a really good idea. I've see helicopters deliver supplies to remote hostels, hiking huts, and mountain hotels in Switzerland and Italy, landing on a landing pad with a footprint not much bigger than the landing gear. I wonder what the footprint of the drone's landing gear is?

Paula • 26th May 2017 •