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JD alliance to launch smart trucks soon

By Fan Feifei | China Daily | Updated: 2018-08-03 11:20
A JD drone being used to deliver packages to customers in Shaanxi province. The company has been using drone services for deliveries in several provinces. [Photo by Chen Feibo/For China Daily]

JD Logistics, the delivery arm of Chinese e-commerce giant JD, has announced a joint venture with transport company Juma Logistics, logistics firm GLP and domestic carmaker Welt-Meister, to develop smart trucks.

Leveraging its expertise in e-commerce, delivery, technology and finance, JD Logistics forecasts the venture will begin mass production of smart delivery trucks by 2020.

"It is a milestone change for trucks, from R&D to application. I believe that this will not only enable the logistics industry to realize digital operation and intelligent logistics, but also create a new employment model for young drivers in the future," said Juma Logistics founder and CEO Bai Rubing.

Juma Logistics said the joint venture aims to establish a smart truck ecosystem, including the research, development and application of logistics distribution scenarios, truck assets operation and digital transportation capacity.

WeltMeister will provide assistance in the trucks' design, manufacturing and new energy technologies.

Juma Logistics is mainly focused on providing urban distribution services. In 2016, it launched efforts to develop a new pattern for urban distribution by integrating logistics, car sales and the used-car market, starting to provide last-mile delivery services for traditional logistics companies.

So far, Juma Logistics has 137 subsidiaries in 67 cities across China, with more than 10,000 delivery trucks. It provides distribution services for SF Express, JD, Alibaba's logistics unit Cainiao Network, Haier Group and US-based retail giant Walmart.

The company has also started to build its own truck pool and cooperated with well-positioned automobile manufacturers for urban distribution.

JD has been investing heavily in intelligent logistics operations, using drones, robotics and driverless vehicles for parcel delivery, aiming to bring down costs and transform the logistics industry.

During this year's June 18 shopping gala, JD unveiled an autonomous truck, which is 9 meters long, 3.5 meters high and 2.5 meters wide. So far, it has completed 2,400 hours of test driving for automated logistics operations.

Equipped with sensors, radars and cameras, the autonomous truck can detect and track surrounding objects, and is set to enter into commercial operation by 2020.

Lu Zhenwang, CEO of Shanghai-based Wanqing Consultancy, said JD has taken the lead in the domestic intelligent logistics sector and has invested massively in related intelligent equipment, such as unmanned sorting and handling equipment, drones and driverless deliveries.

Lu said the application of smart trucks could enhance the efficiency of delivery and reduce costs.

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