Last June, JingDong (JD.COM), the second biggest e-commerce player in China, launched its first delivery robot in Renmin University. This robot can carry five packages at a time and is able to travel 20 km if it is fully charged. It can climb the 25-degree slope and find shortcuts to its final destination. It also can avoid pedestrians, recognize traffic lights and identify package owner by face recognition and with a delivery code.
The use of that kind of technology doesn't come up as a surprise when you see how the e-commerce business is growing right now in China. In fact, in most of China's big cities, more and more consumers request one-day delivery. But as the cost of manpower in China keep increasing and the rural strategy of main commercial players is speeding up, the arrival of robot delivery now seems much closer than many experts expected.
So far, robot delivery is still at early age but we can see the future trend from this small testing. In future, these robots will face much more complicated situations, which will require that the “delivery machines” has strong self-learning capability and AI intelligence. With its innovative express delivery system composed of 7 smart warehouses, 254 big warehouses and 6780 delivery stations, and its drones and UAVs delivering services, JD has the perfect testing ground for new transportation technology.
By Mu Cui, Strategic Analyst in L'Atelier Asia