SF gets OK to use drones for air de­liv­er­ies

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - BUSINESS - By FAN FEIFEI fan­feifei@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Lead­ing de­liv­ery com­pany SF Hold­ing Ltd said it has ob­tained a land­mark li­cense from the mil­i­tary au­thor­i­ties to use drones to de­liver com­mer­cial pack­ages and was con­duct­ing the coun­try’s first drone pi­lot demon­stra­tion zone.

The airspace ap­pli­ca­tion made by SF, and the govern­ment of Nankang dis­trict in the city of Ganzhou, was ap­proved by the East­ern The­ater Com­mand, one of the five na­tional mil­i­tary com­mands.

The fly­ing range cov­ers five coun­ties in Nankang dis­trict and Ganzhou city in Jiangxi prov­ince. The first pi­lot flight, in the first pi­lot demon­stra­tion zone, was con­ducted last Thurs­day.

SF said it has launched sev­eral types of drones for de­liv­ery ser­vices, with a max­i­mum load ca­pac­ity of 25 kilo­grams and fly­ing dis­tance of 100 kilo­me­ters.

SF has in­vested in a smart dis­tri­bu­tion lo­gis­tics and drone de­liv­ery sys­tem, and has taken out 151 patents. It estab­lished a spe­cial­ized drone R&D and business op­er­a­tions sys­tem.

Zhao Xiaomin, a lo­gis­tics mar­ket con­sul­tant in Shang­hai, said SF will ex­pand its drone de­liv­ery ser­vices to third and fourth-tier cities, and some un­de­vel­oped and re­mote re­gions, to build an air trans­porta­tion net­work.

JD.com Inc, China’s sec­ond­biggest e-com­merce player, has been de­vel­op­ing drone de­liv­er­ies to meet the ris­ing re­tail de­mand in China’s ru­ral ar­eas.

Last year, JD suc­cess­fully used drones to de­liver on­line pur­chases to ru­ral shop­pers in Jiangsu prov­ince, kick­ing off the e-com­merce gi­ant’s use of un­manned air­craft for last­mile dis­tri­bu­tion.

In Novem­ber, it fin­ished its first drone de­liv­ery in Xi’an, the cap­i­tal of Shaanxi prov­ince. On June 18 it be­gan us­ing drones to reg­u­larly de­liver pack­ages in Xi’an. The com­pany said that 40 de­liv­ery drone routes have been de­signed to de­liver on­line pur­chases to shop­pers in the area.

The com­pany has also built a drone R&D cen­ter in the city — which is fo­cus­ing on op­er­at­ing mid­dle and large-sized drones with loads of 200 kg to two met­ric tons — in or­der to cut stor­age costs.

JD also said it will build 150 op­er­a­tion sites for a drone de­liv­ery in Sichuan. Liu Qiang­dong, its CEO, said the op­er­a­tion sites are ex­pected to open in three years and drone de­liv­er­ies could help re­duce the freight costs by 70 per­cent.

JD said it strictly com­plied with the laws and reg­u­la­tions of the coun­try, and each of the de­liv­ery tasks was car­ried out after ob­tain­ing autho­riza­tion from the air traf­fic con­trol depart­ment, to en­sure the safety of each flight.

Pan Xue­fei, a se­nior an­a­lyst at mar­ket re­search firm IDC, said the ap­pli­ca­tion of drones in de­liv­ery ser­vices are just at an ini­tial stage.

“We still need time to see large-scale ap­pli­ca­tion,” Pan said, adding that drones were mainly used to im­prove de­liv­ery ef­fi­ciency in re­mote moun­tain­ous ar­eas and sparsely pop­u­lated ar­eas.

Chai Hua con­trib­uted to this story.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from China

© PressReader. All rights reserved.