Nov 19, 2018 (China Knowledge) - JD.com has successfully obtained a license to operate drones on a provincial level for logistics purposes, becoming the first company to do so. The license was issued by the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) to JD.com’s Xi’an-based unit Tianhong Technologies.
The license will allow JD.com to further scale up and improve its drone delivery system and will be beneficial for China as the country continues to develop its drone technologies for use in its logistics sector.
JD.com had previously set-up logistics operations using drones in seven provinces, Shaanxi, Jiangsu, Hainan, Qinghai, Guangdong, Fujian and Guangxi. Their operations in these provinces focus on getting goods deliveried to hard to access rural areas through the use of drones, expanding its network to include more regions and people.
Back in June, JD.com claimed to have clocked more than 5,000 hours of drone flight time in rural areas where parcel delivery costs can be up to 5 times more expensive compared to cities.
The license marks the first step, for JD.com, to reach China’s reportedly 590 million rural residents and the company plans to focus on trialing larger drones. Drone deliveries are still a fraction of JD.com’s logistics system, however, the company envisions building a network that does not only include small drones used for final delivery but larger autonomous planes that can take off and land from airports for bulk shipments.
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