JD.com, one China’s largest online retailers and tech companies has kicked off its drone delivery service. The program is starting with trials to rural areas in Beijing, Jiangsu, Shaanxi and Sichuan provinces.
Although still a trial, JD is already delivery ‘live’ packages to real consumers, which puts it far ahead of companies like Amazon and Walmart who have invested millions into drone deliveries but are still largely hampered by FAA regulations.
JD worked with more receptive Chinese officials to get permission to start their delivery program with 30 drones that can deliver packages of up to 15 kilograms within a range of 50 kilometers.
With billions of dollars in sales a year, JD is poised to be a major player in the drone delivery business. American companies have a lot to learn from JD and should carefully observe how they roll out their plan. By the end of this year, JD plans to expand their current trial to over 100 operational routes throughout China.