Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), or drones as they more commonly called, are booming. Ideas, concepts, and pilot tests are popping. As an example, JD.com is China’s largest retailer and it’s going all-out on automated delivery from online shops in Indonesia.
I’m not sure if this spells the beginning of a bleak dystopian world or if the technology will be used to benefit humanity instead of working for its sake and that of a few billionaires.
JD.com announced its drone delivery test pilot on January 8, 2019, in West Java, Indonesia, at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting (h/t TechCrunch). The unmanned drone test flight is subject to further regulatory approvals from Indonesia’s Ministry of Transportation, Civil Aviation and Air Navigation.
JD.com Capitalizes on Indonesian User Base & Drone Technology
With no fewer than 20 million registered users in Indonesia, JD.com aims to deliver 85% of its orders to customers on the same or next day with drones across the country’s spread-out islands, a natural terrain for UAVs.
While the idea sounds simple, the logistics is another thing. JD.com needs to coordinate 10 warehouses, 7 islands, 483 cities, and no fewer than 6,500 counties. Add to this more than one million products and you can see the extent of its task.
JD.com has been using drones for deliveries in China for over two years and plans on applying its expertise globally, starting with Indonesia. Using its e-commerce company JD.ID, it launched its e-commerce operations in Indonesia in 2016 and has sold products to more than 20 million consumers across the country.
Jon Liao, Chief Strategy Officer at JD.com said:
“It is a privilege to have contributed to this important moment in Indonesia’s history. We have been using drones for real deliveries in China for over two years now, and have seen the profound impact that the technology can have on people’s lives around the country. We look forward to working closely with WEF and the Indonesian government to realize the full potential of this technology, and provide more convenience to Indonesian citizens.”
JD.com Uses Indonesia’s Scattered Island Terrain For Drone Testing
According to Timothy Reuter, Head of Drones and Tomorrow’s Airspace at the World Economic Forum:
“This trial represents the first government approved drone delivery operation in Indonesian history. These tests are an opportunity for Indonesia to become a leader in the Southeast Asia region by leveraging drone delivery to improve access to vital medical, humanitarian, and commercial goods in remote areas.”
The move towards automation seems to never stop and using drones to access places hard to reach makes perfect sense. Just one question: will customer service be automated or handled by humans?