JD Launches Unmanned Delivery Vehicles in Tianjin in Smart City Push

Company also opens unmanned convenient stores in the Chinese megacity

JD Launches Unmanned Delivery Vehicles in Tianjin in Smart City Push

JD is bringing its autonomous delivery vehicles to the streets of Tianjin.

As part of its commitment to support smart cities JD is launching a new project today in Tianjin to make the city more efficient. In cooperation with the Tianjin Economic-Technological Development Area (TEDA), JD will seek to leverage its big data, AI and other advanced technologies to support Tianjin’s smart city initiative. JD and the Tianjin government marked the launch of the strategic partnership with the debut of JD’s autonomous delivery vehicles in Tianjin. After extensive testing in campus environments, this is the first time the vehicles will be used in a public, urban setting.

As part of the agreement, Tianjin will serve as a research, manufacturing and testing base for JD’s smart logistics technology including robots, drones, and autonomous delivery vehicles. JD, together with the Tianjin Hehai Fund and TEDA, also launched a fund with an initial investment of billions of RMB to support startups in advanced tech industries including robotics, AI, smart manufacturing, smart cities and smart ports.

In addition to this agreement, JD also will conduct pilot testing for its autonomous delivery vehicles in Tianjin’s Sino-Singapore Eco-city. For months, JD has been testing these robots for delivery on China’s university campuses and with its own employees around its headquarters in Beijing. In Tianjin, the tests mark a big step for JD’s vehicles, as they will be required to navigate more complicated public areas with both vehicle and pedestrian traffic instead of confined areas like university campuses and office buildings. JD expects to begin real delivery operations via its autonomous vehicles in Tianjin before the company’s June 18 anniversary this year.

“We are proud to help Tianjin take a major step towards becoming one of the smartest cities in the world,” said Jun Xiao, Vice President and Head of JD X, JD’s logistics innovation lab. “Tianjin offers a range of real-world applications for our technology, and this cooperation will enable us to increase efficiency and convenience for the city’s residents, while providing unlimited scenarios for us to continue to improve our technology and increase its future potential.”

Today, the company also launched two of its unmanned convenience stores in Tianjin. After testing the solution last fall in its headquarters, JD has already debuted its first two unmanned convenience stores open to the public at Joy City mall in Yantai in Shandong province and at Sunrise Shopping Center in Dalian in Liaoning province. The company expects to open approximately 100 unmanned stores this year alone, and is also eyeing opening its first overseas store.

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