JD.com, the second-biggest e-commerce company in China, is developing heavy-duty drones that can deliver payloads that weigh one ton or even more. They could be used for different deliveries including shipping fruit and vegetables from farmers to urban markets, which could expire by the time they are delivered by truck.
The retailer is not new to the drone delivery business. It is already using the flying devices to ship small packages to customers who live in remote rural villages. It’s a lot more efficient to use drones, mainly because the road infrastructure isn’t quite as developed in rural areas as it is in larger cities.
Gigantic drones developed by JD.com do have a lot of problems that have to be solved before we’ll see them in the air. They can be a lot noisier when compared to smaller drones, which does pose a problem, especially if they are constantly flying over your head. But that’s obviously not the biggest concern.
In case of a malfunction, the drone, along with the heavy cargo, would cause some serious damage if it falls from the sky. It should have a bunch of safety features on board that would try to prevent something like this from happening, which would probably increase the price of the drone.
JD.com hasn’t mentioned when it plans on testing its heavy-duty drones out or when they will be available. When or if they do hit the market, they probably won’t be of much use in a lot of countries, especially because of different regulations that are in place.
In the US, for example, Amazon is not allowed to deliver small packages to customers via drones because of regulations. This isn’t a problem in China, where laws regarding drones aren’t as strict as in the US, Canada, or some of the other countries around the world.