JD.com’s drones and autonomous delivery robots will now deliver goods to Japanese customers as it partners with Tokyo based Rakuten.
Rakuten, Japan’s largest ecommerce platform, has entered a partnership with the Chinese giant which will see the companies collaborate in an effort to “accelerate innovation in the Japanese logistics sector”.
For more than two years JD.com has been delivering goods via autonomous drones to customers in rural and hard to reach areas in Jiangsu, Shaanxi and other provinces.
Since launching the world’s first commercial drone delivery programme in 2016, its drones have logged more than 400,000 minutes of flight time.
Rakuten, which has been testing drone delivery solutions since 2016 and completed its first trial last year, aims to utilise JD.com’s hardware and knowhow to deliver goods to similarly hard to reach areas across Japan, helping build “a society that can offer greater convenience to all citizens.”
“This is one way we are innovating to make logistics more accessible, reliable and cost-effective,” president of JD.com’s logistics innovation lab Jun Xiao said.
“In Japan there are many opportunities for drones to make deliveries in mountainous areas, remote islands and in emergency situations.
“As we push the bounds of what our autonomous delivery technology can do, and explore its use in a wide range of applications from e-commerce to humanitarian support, we believe it will continue to bring significant benefit to people around the world.”