CHENGDU – Chinese e-commerce giant JD.com said Thursday it will build
150 operation sites for unmanned aerial vehicle delivery in southwestern
province of Sichuan.
JD.com CEO Richard Liu said the operation sites are expected to open
in three years and the drone delivery will help reduce the freight costs
by 70 percent.
The drone service will deliver Sichuan’s products to shoppers nationwide
within 24 hours and will improve delivery efficiency in remote mountainous
areas in Sichuan, Liu added.
JD.com has been developing drone delivery to meet the rising retail demand
in China’s rural areas, where complex terrain and underdeveloped infrastructure
have compromised timely human courier delivery.
JD.com said its drones, which can carry 50 kilograms of parcels, have been put
into use and drones that can carry 500 kilograms are in the pipeline.
The company’s drone delivery project has received approvals in some provinces,
and planning of air routes began in May.