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Innovation

JD driverless delivery vehicles in live mainland test

JD driverless delivery vehicles have been deployed in live testing in two Mainland China cities.

The technology-cum-e-commerce company has opened two smart-delivery stations in the cities of Changsha and Hohhot, strengthening its autonomous logistics capabilities. The stations are carrying out research and development testing and personnel training to solve issues related to last mile delivery.

The JD driverless delivery vehicles can be loaded with up to 30 parcels before autonomously delivering them within a 5km radius. The vehicles can plan routes, avoid obstacles and recognise traffic lights.

The vehicles have locked boxes so each customer’s purchases are kept separate. Once the robots reach their destination, facial recognition technology enables customers to easily and securely collect their parcels from the correct locker.

When running at full capacity, the two delivery stations, operating with a half-half split between robots and human couriers, can deliver up to 2000 packages a day.

The JD driverless delivery vehicles are part of the company’s Boundaryless Retail vision, in which consumers can buy whatever they want, wherever and whenever they want it.

“As China’s largest retailer, JD is in the unique position of being able to research and develop, and commercially deploy, innovative new technology that is shaping the future of shopping worldwide,” said Chen Zhang, JD’s chief technology officer.

“As JD opens its technology up to other companies and industries, the features that we’ve already rolled out in China from automated warehouses to virtual shopping are going to be enjoyed by consumers everywhere,” he said, referring to the company’s Retail as a Service strategy.

CES debut

The opening of the smart delivery stations comes days before JD attends its first Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nevada – the world’s largest event for the latest technology, innovation and creative thinking.

The company will showcase cutting-edge technology which is changing the way consumers shop in China, and which it says will revolutionise global commerce. Visitors will be able to see how JD uses its drones to deliver consumer goods and medical supplies to remote areas in China, and catch a glimpse of the world’s first fully-automated fulfillment centre. They will also see how underground urban logistics will make shopping more convenient than ever, and fundamentally alter how cities work.

This year, CES attendees will be able to see JD’s futuristic technology up close and even try some of it for themselves at the company’s interactive booth.

Aside from drones and delivery robots, visitors will be able to experience drone flights in virtual reality, as well as JD’s augmented-reality fitting and styling software. They will also see how JD is developing Internet of Things technology that enables consumers to remotely control the smart devices in their homes, even from their cars.

JD will also give people the chance to try a special exoskeleton worn by staff in JD warehouses that makes lifting heavy objects easier.

This story originally appeared on sister-site Inside Retail Asia.

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