JD.com, China’s second largest largest online retailer after Alibaba, today announced the completion of Indonesia’s first government approved drone flight – a breakthrough for drone delivery in Southeast Asia.
The successful pilot opens the door for future commercial drone use in Indonesia and the Southeast Asia region, subject to further regulatory approvals. Representatives from Indonesia’s Ministry of Transportation, Civil Aviation and Air Navigation were present for the flight. The news was announced during the World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting in Davos.
The test flight took place on 8 January in West Java, Indonesia, where the drone flew from Jagabita Village, Parung Panjang to MIS Nurul Falah Leles Elementary School to deliver backpacks and books to students. The items delivered by drone were part of a larger donation of supplies from JD.com to the school.
JD has a long history of offering philanthropic support to those in the communities where it operates. The company often taps its technology and nationwide logistics network to provide immediate support for natural disasters such as earthquakes in China.
The Chinese e-commerce company and its joint venture partner, JD.ID, were early movers in bringing high quality e-commerce to Indonesia. JD.ID, which launched e-commerce operations in 2016, sells one million SKUs and serves more than 20 million consumers across the country.
Its operations leverage a logistics network consisting of ten warehouses across seven islands, covering 483 cities and 6,500 counties. Given the fact that the country is spread out across many islands, the implementation of drones for regular use in e-commerce deliveries, as well as other logistics-related services, will enable citizens in Indonesia to enjoy more efficient and reliable services, JD.com says.
It will also help JD.ID realise its goal of being able to deliver 85 per cent of orders same – or next-day. JD.ID is also committed leveraging its logistics and other resources to support humanitarian efforts like earthquake disaster relief.
“It is a privilege to have contributed to this important moment in Indonesia’s history,” says Jon Liao, chief strategy officer at JD.com. “We have been using drones for real deliveries in China for over two years now, and have seen the profound impact that the technology can have on people’s lives around the country. We look forward to working closely with WEF and the Indonesian government to realise the full potential of this technology, and provide more convenience to Indonesian citizens.”
JD.com is a strategic partner of WEF and a partner of WEF’s Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution (C4IR). The C4IR is a global hub for multi-stakeholder cooperation to develop policy frameworks and advance collaborations that accelerate the benefits of science and technology, according to JD.com. Leveraging drone technology to deliver supplies to areas in need is a high priority on the C4IR’s agenda and the WEF and JD.com have been working closely together to ensure the success of the pilot in Indonesia, the company says.
“This trial represents the first government approved drone delivery operation in Indonesian history,” said Timothy Reuter, head of Drones and Tomorrow’s Airspace at the World Economic Forum. “These tests are an opportunity for Indonesia to become a leader in the Southeast Asia region by leveraging drone delivery to improve access to vital medical, humanitarian, and commercial goods in remote areas.”