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New technology helps deliveries arrive sooner
Last Updated: 2021-11-13 08:02 | China Daily
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The application of technology has made parcel delivery faster, more convenient and smarter.

Ahead of China's largest online shopping festival, Singles Day, which falls on Nov 11, an unmanned car filled with parcels made its debut at Guangzhou Institute of Science and Technology in Guangdong province.

The vehicle, which started operation on campus on Nov 2, is set to better serve the busy parcel delivery season for students and faculties. The new member of the campus has attracted attention and quickly become a star among students. Some young people stopped the car, followed it and took photos with it.

The fancy equipment is from logistics company SF Express. Painted white, the simple appearance of the car resembles a creature from the future in early science movies.

It takes packages from the parcel collection station on campus to student dormitories and administrative buildings. Four routes are provided on campus.

"It aims to solve the 'last-kilometer' problem for parcel delivery services," said Hu Jing, product manager at the company's technology sector.

In an area with closed management, such as a university campus or industrial park, the unmanned delivery vehicle helps send parcels from the community's parcel station to the building, she said.

The vehicle runs at 15 km/h to ensure safety, and has more than 20 sensors, including laser radar, ultrasonic radar and cameras.

When it meets an obstacle such as a car or a student, it stops and avoids the object, then carries on.

Though the service is new to the campus, student Zhang Ziwen has become a frequent user.

She usually reserves the service and waits for the message from the delivery company telling her to pick up the package in front of her dorm.

She walks down and inputs a code to retrieve her delivery.

"It is much more convenient and saves time to walk to the parcel station on the other side of the campus. It takes about 2 minutes now and the previous journey was more than 10," she said.

Her concern is that the service is limited and she sometimes cannot book a reservation.

"Sometimes I have to wait," she added.

The vehicle sends about 100 of the 600 parcels delivered a day on campus.

"With the development of sensor production in the domestic market, it will boost the manufacture of the unmanned vehicles and lower production costs," product manager Hu said.

She also said the company is about to add another vehicle at the institute to meet increasing demand.

The unmanned delivery car was also seen around hospitals during the COVID-19 pandemic in Wuhan, Hubei province, reducing direct contact to provide a safer service.

At a large-sized warehouse in Kunshan, Jiangsu province, unmanned cars move products along certain routes to help sorting.

"In the past, workers on the sorting line usually walked more than 30,000 steps a day but that's now down to 5,000 thanks to the unmanned vehicles," said Zhan Yeqin, deputy general manager of E-Logistics under delivery company STO Express.

She said the application of unmanned vehicles helps to send parcels to customers faster.

In addition, with the application of big data and cloud computing, the logistics company can predict popular products and store those products in different warehouses. Once purchases are made, products can be delivered from the closest warehouse.

"Earlier this month, a client from Heilongjiang province received her parcel in six hours after her purchase and left us a message to applaud the speed of delivery," Zhan said, attributing the quick delivery to the technology.

Although this year's Singles Day online shopping spree stayed low profile without countdowns on platforms and headlines to showcase transactions, the parcel delivery sector has still witnessed notable growth.

According to the State Post Bureau of China, 4.78 billion parcels were handled from Nov 1 to Thursday, a year-on-year increase of more than 20 percent.

On Thursday, Singles Day, the network handled 696 million parcels, a record for the amount of parcels handled in one day.

China is expected to handle 95 billion parcels this year.

(Editor:Fu Bo)

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New technology helps deliveries arrive sooner
Source:China Daily | 2021-11-13 08:02
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