Chinese e-commerce giant JD is bringing its autonomous delivery vehicles to the streets of Tianjin, as part of its commitment to support smart cities.
JD launched its unmanned delivery vehicles in Tianjin on Thursday, and expected to begin real delivery operations via its autonomous vehicles in Tianjin before the company's June 18 anniversary this year.
The move marked a big step for JD's vehicles, as they will be required to navigate more complicated public areas with both vehicle and pedestrian traffic instead of confined areas like university campuses and office buildings.
Meanwhile, JD announced strategic cooperation with Tianjin Economic-Technological Development Area (TEDA) on Thursday, to leverage its big data, AI and other advanced technologies to make the city more efficient.
As part of the agreement, Tianjin will serve as a research, manufacturing and testing base for JD's smart logistics technology including robots, drones, and autonomous delivery vehicles.
JD, together with the Tianjin Hehai Fund and TEDA, also launched a fund with an initial investment of billions of yuan to support startups in advanced tech industries including robotics, AI, smart manufacturing, smart cities and smart ports.
"We are proud to help Tianjin take a major step towards becoming one of the smartest cities in the world," said Xiao Jun, vice president and head of JD X, JD's logistics innovation lab.
"Tianjin offers a range of real-world applications for our technology, and this cooperation will enable us to increase efficiency and convenience for the city's residents, while providing unlimited scenarios for us to continue to improve our technology and increase its future potential," said Xiao.
The company also launched two of its unmanned convenience stores in Tianjin. After testing the solution last fall in its headquarters, JD has already debuted its first two unmanned convenience stores open to the public at Joy City mall in Yantai in Shandong province and at Sunrise Shopping Center in Dalian in Liaoning province.
The company expects to open approximately about 100 unmanned stores this year alone, and is also eyeing opening its first overseas store.