This Tech Giant Has Kicked Off Drone Delivery in Rural China
It’s not Amazon.
A Chinese company has just publicly launched its drone delivery service.
JD.com has started a trial of the program in rural China, testing drop-offs outside of Beijing and in Jiangsu, Shaanxi, and Sichuan provinces, during the country’s “Singles’ Day” shopping festival this past Friday.
“There have been thousands of trial flights, with a portion of those delivering packages to customers,” Josh Gartner, spokesperson for JD JD -1.44% , told Fortune. Gartner did not say how many customers have participated in the program to date.
“Everything went very smoothly with packages being delivered from four different bases across the country.”
Singles’ Day is the world’s largest online retail festival, amassing $17.6 billion in sales over the 24-hour period—far more than America’s Cyber Monday’s reported sales of $3 billion last year.
JD may be on its way to becoming the first e-commerce giant to roll out a commercial drone delivery program at a large scale.
Amazon AMZN -0.46% CEO Jeff Bezos made similar such announcements in 2013. However, due to FAA regulations, the Prime Air delivery service hit a roadblock earlier this year, when the Obama administration announced new FAA regulations that require commercial drones to stay within sight of pilots, carry a payload of less than 24 kilograms (55 pounds), and require drone operators to pass a test every two years. Continue reading about drone delivery in China.