Retailer JD.com has entered an agreement with e-commerce company Rakuten to create drone delivery solutions in Japan.
Under the agreement, Rakuten will use JD.com’s drones and unmanned ground vehicles (UGV) in its autonomous delivery operations.
Both retailers will also focus on the development and commercialisation of Rakuten’s unmanned delivery solutions in Japan.
Rakuten group managing executive officer Koji Ando said: “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.
“By utilising 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.”
Rakuten commenced its drone delivery service in 2016 and has worked with corporate partners and local governments to conduct trials.
The company used a combination of drones and autonomous delivery robots to launch its first delivery trial last year in Japan.
JD.com started its drone programme in 2015, followed by the launch of its first commercial drone deliveries in 2016 in rural China the following year. It currently operates drones in Jiangsu, Shaanxi and other provinces.
Last month, the e-commerce retailer tested its first drone delivery service in Indonesia after receiving approval from the government.