The pandemic has hastened the need for advanced technology to do what people cannot do during this period. JD has launched a smart delivery vehicle to deliver packages to customers who need them but who are trying to avoid pandemic risks.
A New Smart Delivery Launch
The smart delivery vehicle rolled out on January 27th into the Shijiazhuang, Hebei province. There, it was able to deliver a set of parcels for locates in the Nanshixincun community compound. The vehicle uses autonomous technology to operate. That means it does not need a person behind the wheel to operate it, minimizing the risk of COVID-19 spread from driver to customer.
The vehicle was packed to capacity – a total of 24 packages on board. It navigated the roadways unsupervised to the designed pick-up point. Once there, the vehicle automatically contacts the parcel owners by making a phone call. A message lets the customer know the package is available. It then provides a verification code that allows the customer to access just their package. That helps to ensure people can get what they need quickly.
The Increasing Need for Access to Package Delivery
The pandemic has made it difficult for people to visit stores safely to pick up items they need. It is safer to simply order from a large eCommerce company like JD and wait for the item to arrive. However, this demand has created significant stress for companies like JD as well as most other eCommerce companies. Shipping times have increased. Costs have grown. The demand continues to rise, though, leading to the need for more effective solutions.
Xingu Yang, who runs the delivery station in Shijiazhuang, noted that they have seen an increase of 1000 parcels each day to the area compared to the normal daily average. That requires couriers to deliver 130 parcels each day, for each person. With the increase in demand from eCommerce sales has grown to about 200 parcels each day, creating limitations and the potential for delays.
Another key concern relates to communities on lockdown. At that point, it’s not possible for people, including delivery couriers, to enter the city to make deliveries. That limits access to goods people typically need.
How Smart Delivery Vehicles Help Minimize the Risk
The use of JD’s new smart delivery vehicle simply makes sense. It enables delivery that is just as fast, if not faster, but also does so when people cannot enter areas due to the risk of infection. It reduces the load on human couriers unable to keep up with demands. It is still efficient and provides for a low risk of contamination. For all of these reasons, JD’s smart delivery vehicle is a winning decision for the region.
The Man Behind the Development of the Smart Vehicle Launch
Liu Qiangdong, who serves as the chairman and CEO of JD.com, has been behind the move towards using autonomous vehicles for some time. There’s no doubt he’s been a key role player in the development of this technology as well as other innovations for the company.
Liu Qiangdong, who was born in China and graduated from the People’s University of China, has made a name for himself around the world. After working his way up to become a Director of Computers and Service at Japan Life, he decided to start on an entrepreneurial path of his own. He opened a small retail space, selling magneto-optical goods. The concept flourished, and early on, the local chain grew into a dozen retail spaces.
Yet, with the SARS epidemic occurring, Liu Qiangdong knew it was time to embrace a new way of providing retail services to customers. Noting this, he worked to increase the opportunities consumers had to make purchases from his home. This led to the development of a new business model that would thrive in any situation. His objective was to eliminate physical retail spaces. Instead, he created and built Jingdong, an eCommerce platform.
Over time, Jingdong grew into JD.com, the largest eCommerce platform in the world, providing access to a wide range of products to over a billion people. He didn’t just create a platform but also advanced technology that would create positive customer service and allow for the selling of products.
Now, JD.com has its own delivery services and works with many global companies. The company has over 400 million active users, many of them relying on access to products they need during the pandemic.
There’s no doubt the delivery service vehicle launched by JD will do more than just provide for one province. It may open the door to numerous opportunities. Liu Qiangdong happens to be behind it all, and that means there’s the potential for a wide range of new autonomous and efficient technologies around the corner.