Chinese ecommerce giant, and Alibaba’s biggest rival, JD.com, announced it’s plan to approach drone deliveries, reports Tech in Asia.
The company has begun testing a new unmanned delivery drone that looks more like a small van than a quad-copter. According to JD, the drones are around a meter in length and have six differently sized compartments for carrying packages, making it potentially simpler to pack up and deliver to people’s homes.
How do drone deliveries work?
The bots can navigate intersections by recognizing light colors. When it arrives at their destination building, the customer inside will be notified via the JD app and they can come out, key in a code to unlock the cargo area, and collect their package.
The drones can select their own routes, drive themselves, and are equipped with smart obstacle avoidance technology.
JD states that these drones are the first of its kind to be developed in China, and the company aims to put them into large scale commercial use by next year.
According to JD’s representative, “the road testing with delivery cars is just the tip of the iceberg, the tests are just the first step.”
Apart from innovative delivery drones, JD is also working on a larger drone delivery car, but the company has not elaborated on details. Let’s wait to see how this folds out.
A version of this appeared in Tech in Asia on September 2. Read the full version here.