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article imageChina's version of Amazon already using drones for delivery

By Karen Graham     May 29, 2017 in Technology
Beijing - It has been four years since Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos introduced us to the company's newest innovation, a drone that would deliver packages to our doorsteps within 30 minutes of ordering. China's Amazon clone, JD.com has beaten them to it.
In Amazon's defense, the company's so-called “Amazon Prime Air” has yet to get off the ground. Bezos has been stymied by federal regulations on the commercial use of drones and approval will take at least two or three more years, according to Vox.
JD.com is the main competitor to Alibaba in Chinese e-commerce, although they use different business models. Alibaba serves as a market for producers while JD.com sells their goods like Amazon, through online sales to the consumer. But unlike Amazon, JD.com has embraced drone delivery in a unique way.
Drone delivery Chinese-style
JD.com got the go-ahead from the Chinese government last year to begin drone delivery in the outskirts of Beijing and four other provinces. Since then, dozens of drones have made thousands of deliveries. However, here is where they are different from Amazon's planned deliveries.
JD.com uses an innovative automated drone delivery system to get goods to consumers in rural areas.
JD.com uses an innovative automated drone delivery system to get goods to consumers in rural areas.
JD.com
JD.com does not deliver goods to your doorstep, as Amazon plans on doing. Instead, JD.com has fixed routes the drones automatically fly along from their warehouses to fixed landing pads in rural villages. Once there, the packages are delivered to the customer by company contractors.
And in another innovation developed by the company, they have just reached an agreement with the authorities in the northern Chinese province of Shaanxi, where it plans to test low-altitude drone deliveries using drones capable of carrying more than a ton of goods, which will expand their network to rural areas.
According to Josh Gartner, the vice president of international corporate affairs at JD.com., the large-scale deliveries could also be used for taking agricultural products from rural farms to urban warehouses.
Once a package gets to the landing pad  an employee will deliver it to the costomer.
Once a package gets to the landing pad, an employee will deliver it to the costomer.
JD.com
“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, reports the Financial Tribune.
China now making innovations of their own
China has been accused of copying Western technology, however, the innovations already being seen with JD.com are actually all their own, and they are quite good, possibly because they have the backing of a government that is committed to the growth of the economy.
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JD.com
For example, JD.com does not use the postal service or third-party delivery companies. They have their own personnel and trucks. Amazon has turned to this same business model in recent years, but they still rely on the postal service. JD.com also claims it has the world's fastest delivery service.
But here's the neatest thing about JD.com's delivery system. Drone delivery in China does not take an individual pilot for each and every drone the company sends out on a delivery. With automated routes, one person can monitor the flight paths of many drones simultaneously, in a manner akin to an air traffic controller. How cool is that?
More about JDcom, Amazon, Drones, fixed routes, internet sales
 
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