Chinese tech giants Alibaba, Meituan and JD.com will add more than a thousand robots to their delivery services next year.
The transition is largely due to the pandemic, which requires less contact, and also to the falling cost of manufacturing robots.
Alibaba’s last-mile logistics company currently operates 200 robots, but plans to have 1,000 robots by March 2022 and 10,000 robots over the next three years. JD.com currently operates about 200 robots and plans to expand to 1,000 by the end of 2021.
The robots are still hampered by a number of barriers, including the inability to climb stairs, limited mobility, such as speed limits and road conditions. In addition, the robots are only allowed in limited use on certain routes such as housing estates and schoolyards.
As a result, the bots have only been used to deliver less time-sensitive products such as parcels instead of food.
However, the industry holds a lot of promise for the future, and Chinese technology companies are benefiting from steadily declining production costs.
For more information, read the original story in Reuters.