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Is UAV to be the 'fighter' for express delivery service?

(People's Daily Online)    10:20, February 09, 2015
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Alibaba's Taobao.com announced it had begun its first trial of UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) delivery on Feb. 4. Consumers in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou are the lucky ones chosen to experience this new service. 

Based on the destination and routes set by staffers in advance, the UAV will deliver the goods to the consumers' address. After placing an order, consumers need wait no more than an hour before receiving their goods.

In China, as well as Taobao, Sf-express.com Inc also carried out UAV delivery experiments early in 2013.

SF said it boasts a self-developed UAV with a built-in navigation system. The plane flies at an altitude of some 100 meters and delivers the goods to customers based on the set destination and route, with an error margin of less than two meters.

But SF's UAV delivery is just at the experimental stage. It only transfers goods between different distribution outlets and customers cannot yet access the service.

Internationally, foreign companies including Amazon, Google and courier giant DHL have also cast an eye on UAV delivery. DHL has used UAV to transfer drugs, with a flying time of two minutes per kilometer.

Last September, Google's lab announced it was developing a UAV system.

In addition to the high cost, regulatory and security issues are the most important factors hindering its development.

According to the US Federal Aviation Administration, a UAV can only be used by lovers on specific occasions for a specific purpose or be used for entertainment, but not for delivering goods.

The good news is that China will gradually conduct low-altitude airspace management reform; the relevant provisions will be introduced shortly and UAV express delivery service can start to establish itself. 

This article was edited and translated from 《无人机会是快递中的“战斗机”吗?》, source: Xinhuanet.com 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Editor:Liang Jun,Bianji)

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