JD.com developing drones for shipments up to one ton

Tinuku ~ Chinese e-commerce giant develops drone aircraft for shipping a ton in remote areas. China's second-largest online retailer, JD.com Inc., announced plans to develop an unmanned aircraft to carry a ton of goods or more for long-distance shipments in areas hard to reach in the mountains and villages.

Tinuku JD.com developing drones for shipments up to one ton

JD (NASDAQ: JD) is a giant e-commerce company headquartered in Beijing said it will test an unmanned aircraft network in Shaanxi province, northern China. They will bring consumer goods to remote areas and agricultural produce to the city.

"JD.com will be the first in the world to test the delivery of drones on this scale, we envision an efficient network of inter-city and even inter-provincial transport in the future," Wang Zhenhui, CEO of JD Logistics, said in a statement.

First delivery to customers using smaller unmanned aircraft in November. JD operates a national network of thousands of delivery stations managed by 65,000 employees. The company is estimated to have 235 million regular subscribers.

The 1 ton charge exceeds most current drone abilities, though some can carry hundreds of kilograms and the famous unmanned drone maker is working on a device to bring more. China is the world's largest civil drone manufacturer branded DJI in Shenzhen.

"This is a milestone not only for JD, but also for the entire transportation industry as we expand our logistics services to other shippers," Zhenhui said.

JD said the planned drone shipping network in Shaanxi will cover a 300-square-kilometer radius and has a drone air base throughout the province. The Company will establish a research and development bureau to develop and produce unmanned aircraft.

Other e-commerce companies like Amazon.com Inc. Also experimenting with similar projects for delivery. Drones are part of the industry's response to the challenge of expanding into rural areas where distance and shipping costs are expensive.

Infrastructure development by the Chinese government is massive and the percentage of railroads has grown rather than marine transport and costs lower than air. Cargo shipments are also less affected by external factors such as weather. But the mountainous region remains unattainable.

JD.com is China's No.2 e-commerce company after Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. The company reported first-quarter revenue of 2017 up 41.2 percent from 2016 to 76.2 billion yuan (US$11.1 billion). A profit increase of 843.1 million yuan (US$122.4 million) compared with a loss of 864.9 million yuan a year earlier.