Oct 28, 2021|

JD Logistics Deploys Autonomous Delivery Vehicles to Locked Down Beijing Neighborhood Amid Outbreak


by Kelly Dawson

On the morning of October 27, Mr. Shi, a resident of Beijing’s locked down Furongli Community, stepped outside to a waiting JD Logistics (JDL) autonomous vehicle. After entering a pickup code, Mr. Shi watched as a door on the side of the vehicle opened, revealing a bouquet of flowers.

Since 2020, JDL has deployed its autonomous delivery vehicles for COVID-19 relief four times, in Wuhan, Shijiazhuang, Guangzhou, and now in Beijing.

Several days into lockdown, deliveries like these have been a lifeline for residents of the Furongli Community in Beijing’s Haidian District, after a positive COVID-19 case prompted a community-wide lockdown on October 24. Hours after Furongli had closed to the public, JDL allocated autonomous delivery vehicles to service the residents with contact-free delivery of both necessities and non-urgent items like Mr. Shi’s flowers, ensuring that customers stay safe and comfortable through the lockdown.

Residents who order deliveries will receive an SMS notification when the autonomous vehicle has arrived outside their building. The vehicles can carry up to 200 kilograms of goods, and operate all day.

When the city of Wuhan went into lockdown at the height of the pandemic in early 2020, it was uncharted territory. JDL quickly sprang into action, using its L4 autonomous vehicles and the Beidou satellite positioning system to offer contactless delivery of both consumer goods and medical supplies to its residents. During that time, the total mileage of road traveled by JDL’s autonomous vehicles exceeded 6,800 kilometers, transporting about 13,000 packages. One of the vehicles used in Wuhan, named Da Bai(Big White),  was later collected by the National Museum for posterity.

Later, when an outbreak occurred in Shijiazhuang in early 2021, JDL’s autonomous vehicles serviced residents in lockdown; and again in June 2021, the autonomous vehicles rushed to Guangzhou during a local outbreak.

Over the next two to three years, JDL plans to develop and put into use thousands of autonomous delivery vehicles. In the immediate future, these vehicles will play a significant role in the upcoming Singles Day Grand Promotion, offering safe, swift delivery to some of JD’s more than 530 million customers.