Drone delivery is pushing towards massive use after Meituan-Dianping, China's third-largest e-commerce firm raises $10 billion from investors in a bid to gain an edge on its e-commerce rivals.
The Hong Kong-listed tech company has sold 187 million shares at HK$273.8 ($35) each and offered up to $3 billion worth of two tranches convertible bonds and an extra $400 million from Tencent Holdings.
The funds will be used to advance research on developing autonomous delivery vehicles such as drone and self-driving car deliveries, as well as for other innovations and corporate purposes.
Meituan-Dianping on Driverless Delivery
Meituan, the Tencent-backed food delivery giant, predicted that driverless delivery would be prevalent in China in three to five years' time.
In an effort to get ahead of the game, Meituan had tested autonomous delivery in suburban Shunyi District in Beijing since February 2020 and had successfully accomplished 35,000 orders.
According to CGTN's report from Aug. 2020, Meituan had plans to grow its automated delivery fleet and develop drone delivery units at the same time.
"We need to improve the reliability of the technology also to reduce the cost," said Xia Huaxia, Meituan's chief scientist and head of the AI platform. "The purpose of doing this actually is to help the delivery, the drivers, not to replace them. We want to help them."
Many companies have been investing in automated delivery for quite a long time, and the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration tapped major online shopping brands such as Amazon and Best Buy to research autonomous deliveries using drones.
The Future of Drones
Drones had been spotted on several industries since it was first used two decades ago.
According to Business Insider's Jan. 2021 report, drones had become important in increasing work efficiency and productivity, resolving security issues, and many others.
Apart from aerial photography and contactless delivery, drones have also been used in disaster management, information gathering, and search and rescue operations.
Law enforcement had also started using drones for inspection, surveillance, and border patrol.
Some have also found drones helpful in the world of art, as artists learned and used drones to make stunning aerial displays.
Drones have also found their way through marketing and promotion when 1,500 drones were used to display one giant QR code in Shanghai to commemorate the anniversary of a game.
The feat garnered a Guinness World Record for the largest QR Code for the most unmanned aerial vehicles airborne simultaneously.
The event, which promotes Cygames' "Princess Connect Re: Dive," also showcased a breathtaking aerial display by filling the sky with artistic displays of characters in the game.
The effective and imaginative use of drones in QR code marketing did not only led to an increased download of the game, but also kept the audience talking about the light show after the event.
This article is owned by Tech Times
Written by Lee Mercado