February 21, 2019
  • Rakuten, Inc.
  • JD.com, Inc.

Rakuten and JD.com to Collaborate to Create Unmanned Delivery Solutions in Japan

Rakuten to use JD.com drones and UGVs in unmanned delivery service

Tokyo, February 21, 2019 – Rakuten, Inc., a leading global innovation company in e-commerce, communications and fintech, and JD.com, China’s largest retailer, today signed an agreement that will see JD.com’s drones and unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs) utilized in Rakuten’s unmanned delivery solutions in Japan.

Under this agreement, Rakuten will combine its experience in drone delivery service operations in Japan and IT solutions, such as its dedicated shopping apps, with JD.com’s expertise in drones and UGVs, which have a proven track record in China. The two companies will collaborate on Rakuten’s lineup of unmanned delivery services to suit a wide range of applications and situations.

Rakuten launched its Rakuten Drone delivery service in 2016, and has gained experience through providing delivery services and trials in collaboration with corporate partners and local governments. In 2018, its first delivery trial was conducted using a combination of drones and UGVs, a step toward solving the last mile challenge for the logistics sector in Japan.

“We are delighted to begin this collaboration with JD.com, which boasts the most cutting-edge proprietary delivery network in China as well as a track record and know-how in delivery with drones and UGVs,” said Koji Ando, Group Managing Executive Officer of Rakuten, Inc. “By utilizing JD.com’s drones and UGVs with the unmanned delivery solutions created by Rakuten, we hope to accelerate innovation in the Japanese logistics sector and contribute to building a society that can offer greater convenience to all citizens.”

JD.com began developing its drone program in 2015 and launched the world’s first commercial drone deliveries in 2016 in rural China in Jiangsu, Shaanxi, and other provinces. Since then, JD’s drones have logged more than 400,000 minutes of delivery flight time. In January 2019, the company announced the success of Indonesia’s first government-approved drone test flight, opening the door for future commercial drone use in Indonesia and Southeast Asia. On the ground in China, its UGVs are being used for delivery service in urban areas in several cities and these autonomous delivery robots are becoming frequent sights on a number of university campuses. JD.com has also launched two smart delivery stations in the cities of Changsha and Hohhot, transforming last-mile logistics and further increasing delivery speeds to customers.

“We have been using drones and autonomous delivery robots for real deliveries in China for over two years,” said Jun Xiao, president of JD-X, JD’s logistics innovation lab. “This is one way we are innovating to make logistics more accessible, reliable and cost-effective. In Japan there are many opportunities for drones to make deliveries in mountainous areas, remote islands, and in emergency situations. As we push the bounds of what our unmanned delivery technology can do, and explore its use in a wide range of applications from e-commerce to humanitarian support, we believe it will continue to bring significant benefit to people around the world.”

Rakuten and JD.com aim to accelerate the development and commercialization of Rakuten’s unmanned delivery solutions in Japan and will cooperate to promote convenience and innovation in society.

Overview of devices likely to be deployed
 Size: Length 160 cm × Height 60cm
 Maximum payload weight: 5kg
 Maximum flight distance: 16km
 Maximum flight time: 40 minutes

Unmanned Ground Vehicle (UGV)
 Size: Length 171.5 cm × Weight 75 cm × Height 160cm ( *Height includes rooftop sensor) 
 Maximum payload weight: 50kg
 Top speed: 15km/h (*Speed can be limited)

  • Left:Drone Right: Unmanned Ground Vehicle

About JD.com
JD.com (NASDAQ: JD) is China’s leading technology-driven e-commerce company. Its cutting-edge retail infrastructure enables consumers to buy whatever they want, whenever and wherever they want it. The company has opened its technology and infrastructure to partners, brands and other sectors, as part of its Retail as a Service offering to help drive productivity and innovation across a range of industries. JD.com is the largest retailer in China, a member of the NASDAQ100 and a Fortune Global 500 company.

JD.com corporate website: https://corporate.jd.com
JD.com Japan website: https://jdjapan.com

*Please note that the information contained in press releases is current as of the date of release.

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