Heavyweight drone coming through
Earlier this week, JD.com announced it is developing heavy-duty drones to carry packages as heavy as one ton or more. This will be the world’s largest-scale drone delivery network so far. It is looking to introduce the drones across the northern Chinese province, Shaanxi, offering hundreds of routes and drone bases. The drones will first be tested in sparsely populated and hard to reach areas, which are unapproachable for drivers. Farmers could utilize the heavy-duty drones to quickly deliver fruit and vegetables to far-off urban markets. This would help to avoid the spoiling of produce created by long truck journeys.
Heavyweight drones have more risk potential when compared to smaller drones. Due to their size and weight, the drones have a higher risk of crashing. These types of drones are also noisier as they require extra motors. However, the advantages outweigh the problems through offering a more reliable delivery service. The company plans on building 150 drone delivery sites within the next three years to aid in its drone expansion. JD.com are also investing more time and money into its smaller drones, focusing on ‘last-mile’ delivery to customers’ homes which is regarded as the most expensive part of the supply chain.
To find more information on the drones click here.
Whenever the weather, whatever the weather
This week, IBM has debuted its self-made dashboard platform that gives real-time information of weather forecasts to drivers, dispatchers and distribution-center managers. The platform utilizes custom APIs to target potential disruptions to transportation routes. Potential disruptions can be classified as hazardous road conditions due to fog, ice and flooding. It also provides real-time traffic flow, accident or incident information.
The dashboard sends out push notifications to alert all parties using the system to help avoid these situations and offer alternative, safer routes for the drivers. It can be customized to each fleet, providing more in-depth information and reducing inefficiencies. Logistics planners and drivers will benefit hugely from the technology, saving time and money through avoiding costly delays and promoting proactive decisions. The app is designed specifically for ground transport users, as opposed to general users, meaning it contains much more information than other weather apps. It also avoids the need for drivers to reset the system when changing location zones as the app moves with the driver, constantly updating information.
Read more information here.
Improve efficiency? Bring out the smart vehicles
On Tuesday, Alibaba announced its plan to introduce over 1 million smart logistics vehicles into the market within the next decade. The company will strengthen its development of artificial intelligent technology in order to cope with the rapidly increasing demand for delivery. Alibaba will invest $7.3 billion into the project. As China’s biggest logistics firm, Alibaba recognized the need to respond to the ‘consumption upgrade’. Through establishing and investing in innovative logistics solutions, it helps respond to demand more efficiently and contributes to the success of the rising industry.
The smart vehicles are currently being trialed in two major cities in China. Improvements in delivery times have already been observed. The vehicles will ensure route optimization, using big data and algorithms from Cainiao Network, the logistics arm of Alibaba. It will increase efficiency, tackling the logistical challenges created by the surge of deliveries. It has already been predicted that the use of these vehicles could save the Chinese logistics industry $1.4 billion annually by the time all 1 million vehicles have been deployed.
Find more information on the vehicles here.
Have a great weekend!
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