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Pandemic Pushes Chinese Tech Giants to Roll Out More Courier Robots


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An employee of the 7Fresh supermarket loads goods on a JD Logistics autonomous delivery vehicle in Beijing, China

Companies in China have been exploring the use of drones since at least 2013 amid a labor crunch that has worsened due to the pandemic.

Credit: Tingshu Wang/REUTERS

Chinese technology giants Alibaba, Meituan, and JD.com plan to increase their courier robot fleets fourfold to more than 2,000 by 2022, as the pandemic boosts demand for contactless services and the costs of manufacturing robots declines.

JD.com's Kong Qi said, "We want people and vehicles to work better together and not for vehicles to replace people. It is just the most boring section of the delivery guy's work that we will try to replace."

Alibaba currently operates over 200 robots and plans to have 1,000 in the field by March, and as many as 10,000 over the next three years.

JD.com operates about 200 robots, and plans add as many as 800 to its fleet by year’s end.

Meituan now has around 100 delivery robots in use.

From Reuters
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Abstracts Copyright © 2021 SmithBucklin, Washington, DC, USA


 

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