JD.com started 2019 by announcing the first-ever government approved drone flight in Indonesia. The Chinese retail giant has had always had an eye for the SouthEast Asia market and the launch couldn’t have come at a better time. The launch will inspire other people who are thinking of entering the commercial drone use industry in Indonesia.
Jingdong is one of China’s biggest e-commerce companies based in Beijing. The platform has over 300 million active users as of 2018. It is also a world-leading company when it comes to AI and high tech deliveries through drones. It has also heavily invested in robot and autonomous technology. Jingdong is currently the number one leader in the world when it comes to drone delivery and infrastructure capability. The company has started experimenting with robotic deliveries. There have also started building drone airports to be used for picking and delivering goods.
The test flight took place in West Java Indonesia on January 8th, 2019. The drone flew from Jagabita village to Parung Panjang to deliver backpacks and books to MIS Nurul Falah Leles Elementary School. The items that were being delivered were part of a bigger donation supplies that were being taken to the school. The supplies were delivered over a distance of 250km in a village located in the country’s fourth-largest city.
The company has had a long-standing tradition of offering support in the communities that it operates. Jingdong often uses its logistics and technology to provide support during natural disasters like the earthquakes experienced in China.
Jingdong together with its JV partner JD.ID were the first people to bring high-quality e-commerce products in Indonesia. Since the operations started in 2016, the business sells over one million SKUs and currently serves over 20 million people across the country. The operations depend on a robust logistical network put in place. There are currently over 10 warehouses in seven islands covering 483 cities.
It is always going to be a challenge delivering goods given the fact that the country is spread several islands. The use of drone technology helps in efficient and fast deliveries. It is also in line with JD.ID’s vision of 85% of the deliveries being done on the same or next day. This has been a challenge in Indonesia but the company has responded in the right way.
During the launch, the Chief Strategy Officer of JD.com, Jon Liao talked about how it was a privilege for the company being able to play a defining role in Indonesia’s history. He talked about the profound effects drone deliveries has had in China. The technology has the potential to transform the lives of people living in areas that are not easily accessed by roads. The company is more than willing to work with the Indonesian government to harnesses technology to better the lives of people living in rural areas.
JD.com has also entered into a strategic partnership with WEF and Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution. C4IR deals with developing policy and capacity for advanced collaborations that promote and accelerate the benefits of science and technology. One of its main agendas is levering drone technology to deliver supplies in areas that are not easily accessible using roads.
According to Timothy Reuter, Head of Drones and Tomorrow’s Airspace at the World Economic Forum, the trial was one of its kind since it is represented the first government-approved drone delivery service in Indonesia. The tests present an opportunity for the country to become a market leader in South East Asia through leveraging drone technology. The drones can be used to deliver vital humanitarian, commercial and medical goods to remote areas in the country. The drone deployment will only improve once they get the logistics right.