JD.com Announces Series of New Agreements for Drone Development
Efforts lay out roadmap for JD’s national drone network, including urban testing
JD and Shaanxi government to host international UAV contest in spring
E-commerce giant JD.com, China’s largest retailer, has announced a series of new agreements with aviation companies, Northwestern Polytechnical University and local authorities in Shaanxi Province, laying the groundwork for the rollout of China’s largest and most advanced drone network.
JD will partner with Northwestern Polytechnical University to continue its development of logistics drones, including the planned heavy-load drones that will be able to carry over a ton. Northwest Polytechnical University is host to China’s top UAV Research and Development Base, making it an ideal partner. JD will invest in related studies and talent development with the university, while both parties will cooperate to develop, manufacture and test industrial-level drones.
Separately, JD entered a strategic partnership with Guangdong Longhao Aviation Group, one of China’s leading service providers for a wide range of aviation needs, including airport construction, flight training and low altitude flight expertise. The two companies will build big data-powered logistics platforms that will manage JD’s drone network, the largest in China. The companies will cooperate on dispatching drones, air space control, flight route planning and other supervisory functions. The companies expect the infrastructure to be online and ready for use in Shaanxi by 2020, at which point they will adapt the system for nationwide use.
JD also reached an agreement with China West Airport Group, the second largest trans-provincial large-scale airport management group in the country. As part of the agreement, JD.com will leverage China West Airport Group’s airport network to build its drone logistics network across central China.
Meanwhile, JD signed a strategic cooperation agreement with the municipal government of Hangcheng, in Shaanxi Province, to set up the first urban drone delivery platform in the world. JD will explore the model and plans to test city drone delivery in Hancheng to evaluate its viability. Additionally, the company will also test its automated delivery vehicle and logistics facilities to build Hancheng City into a model city for smart logistics.
The company also reached an agreement with Linyou County, for the construction of a general aviation system serving the entire county, powered by JD’s smart logistics technology. New logistics capabilities will advance Linyou’s agricultural industry by modernizing the transport of agricultural products using drones.
“These agreements mark a significant step forward in the execution of our plan to build one of the largest and most advanced drone networks in the world,” said Zhenhui Wang, CEO of JD.com’s logistics business group, JD Logistics. “JD’s technology will help advance logistics infrastructure in China, paving the way for industrial development across the country well beyond e-commerce.”
As China’s largest retailer, JD.com operates the largest nationwide in-house delivery network in the country. JD has surpassed 92% of items it sells being delivered on the same or next-day as the orders are placed.
With more than 60 delivery routes nationwide, JD is the first e-commerce company in the world to put delivery drones to commercial use. As the company expands the capabilities of JD Logistics, it will continue making its technology infrastructure and services available to non-e-commerce shippers.
JD.com and the Shaanxi Provincial Government will also launch the China International UAV Contest for competitors from worldwide institutions, universities, enterprises, groups and individuals with prizes of up to hundreds of millions of RMB.