Alibaba Group, Owner of the Chinese eBay, Kicks Off Test Trials for Drone Delivery

Alibaba's drone delivery testing 1 photo
Photo: Tech in Asia
While the US Federal Aviation Administration is giving Amazon’s CEO big headaches with their drone delivery regulations development moving quite slow and all, China’s giant e-commerce company, Alibaba Group, is wasting no time. Asia’s largest internet company has partnered up with Shanghai YTO Express Logistics Co. to deliver ginger tea packets to 450 Chinese customers. The one-time drone tests will last for three days.
The customers have volunteered for the tests and the remote-controlled drones are expected to distribute 50 parcels from Alibaba’s Taobabo marketplace in Beijing today, before proceeding to Shanghai and Guangzhou.

The point is to show authorities what huge potential the commercial drone industry has in China, where the military allows only a fifth of the airspace to civilian use. If successful, it’s also a big step for the drone delivery competition, one that is quite tight on a global level.

US is still quite restrictive to the idea and is waiting for the FAA to develop a regulation package to make things safe for everybody. The incident last month at the White House, when a operator lost control of a SZ DJI Technology Co.-built quadcopter which later crashed in the President’s backyard sure didn’t help too much.

Amazon has been trying to push things forward and start delivering its products via 30-minute drone flights. Google is also working on a similar service. Things have been moving forward quite fast in other countries worldwide as well. Germany is already testing through its giant delivery service DHL sending medicine via quadcopter to its customers. Argentina is using it to catch wealthy tax evaders.

According to TechinAsia, the test program will start today and will run through February 6th. Packages must weigh less than 340 grams and will be delivered within one hour time.
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