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Alibaba tests delivery drones in China

By Dan Wilson February 5, 2015 - 10:40 am

Amazon mooted drone delivery the year before last but Alibaba has stolen a lead and actually started testing the technology in China this week.

Yesterday, with partner Shanghai YTO Express, Alibaba began a drone delivery trial for taobao.com customers in Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou.

If a customer orders a type of ginger tea and are located within 1 hour’s flying time of the warehouse, they will be offered a drone test if the the package weighs less than 340 grams. This, apparently, will number about 450 shoppers over the three days of the drone test.

It will be interesting to hear how this test goes and whether drones could be a genuine part of future delivery options. It seems more like a publicity stunt than a real plan. In the UK and the US certainly, regulatory issues make it a somewhat unlikely possibility.

That said, Amazon have opened a drone research department in Cambridge. So who knows?

  • Steve
    2 years ago

    Ha Ha!!

    This is great! Now is the time to disersify into prosthetics or even an amputation clinic!!

    How many keen and thirsty buyers will hear the drone arriving with their tea and reach up to get their order, only to loose a few fingers or even an arm in the process!!

    Totally stupid idea. Over here a drone can not legally operate within 150m of any building or people so the combination of both Aviation and Health & Safety Regulations makes this a non starter and that wont change. Only places like China would allow/try it.

    Long live The Revolution!! :)

  • ifellow
    2 years ago

    This is just alibaba putting it out there they are as good as amazon. I think pigs might fly in China before drone deliveries do. It’s just another case of a Chinese company following a western one. This time for hype.

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