(Yicai Global) Sept. 2 -- JD.Com Inc. [NASDAQ:JD], a major Chinese online retailer, said it may start large-scale use of China's first driverless delivery truck next year after trials this October.
The vehicles can make deliveries to office buildings, convenience stores and so on, making distribution much more efficient, according to Mr. Xiao Jun, president of JD.com's business-X division.
Running on autopilot, the small trucks follow preset routes or plan their own by identifying the shortest journeys and avoiding congested roads. They notify customers of deliveries through the JD app or by text message. After inputting a password, customers can retrieve their parcel from an on-board lockbox.
The eco-friendly electric vehicle is now undergoing road tests, Mr. Xiao said. It uses side roads for non-motor vehicles and has an obstacle avoidance mechanism, making it safe for pedestrians. Real-time monitoring and location tracking ensure both the safety of the vehicle and its packages, Mr. Xiao said.
JD.com previously won approval to run the vehicle in two counties in China, and the product was undergoing tests. JD.com founder Mr. Richard Liu hopes driverless deliveries can provide for 400,000 villages in the country. They will slash logistics costs in rural areas, he has said.