JD supports Japan's first food delivery service by drones
Food delivery operated by drones first became available in a close-in park in central Japanese city Yokosuko during weekends from September 21 to October 27.
Tourists in the park can get the order from nearby stores delivered by the unmanned aerial vehicles within just minutes. About 400 items varying from food and beverages for barbecues to first aid kit are available on Japanese's e-commerce giant Rakuten's app, on which users can place their orders.
The drone trial, targeting at holiday tourists and designed to cover the last mile delivery efforts, is one of Japan's first commercial autonomous vehicle delivery services supported by China's Amazon-like JD.
JD has started its drone delivery business as early as 2017. According to the company, their first type VT1 with a hybrid gas-electric engine can carry packages weighing as much as 200 kilograms for long distance deliveries.
After that delivery drones that can carry 1,000 kilograms of goods and fly at speeds of up to 50 km/h have been developed to carry out more heavy tasks.
Drones can travel in excess of road speed limits and take aerial shortcuts cars can't, so they are often much more efficient at dropping off goods ordered online.
China's first commercial application of the drone in the food delivery industry was carried out by Ele.me, an online app now owned by Alibaba.
The authorized 17 drone routes are all located at an industrial zone in Shanghai, covering 58 square kilometers and serving over 100 restaurants.
The overall market of drones is expected to reach 75 billion yuan (around 11 billion U.S. dollars) by 2025 in China, according to an iResearch report.