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Published June 19, 2017

China's Robot Couriers Could Make Deliverymen Obsolete

By Ben Cost

With robots replacing humans in every sector from hospitality to sex, it won't be long before Skynet is a reality. Don't believe us? JD.com is conducting trial runs of robot couriers at six different Chinese universities, including Renmin University, Tsinghua University and Zhejiang University. 

 

Unlike their waiter counterparts, the automated deliverymen are extremely intuitive, able map out their routes using a GPS, avoid any obstacles and message recipients when they are 100 meters away from their destination. And despite being able to zip along as fast as electric bicycles, they walk at 'pedestrian speed' when on campus and even slow down for speed bumps. If only their moped-riding human counterparts could do the same....

 

Hopefully this means we'll no longer have to deal with 'organic couriers' riding on the sidewalk and beeping at pedestrians, getting on elevators before we get off etc. Then again, if we had to deliver 100 million packages a day, we'd probably prioritize efficiency over humanity too...

 

It's not just couriers that are going robotronic either. "From acquisition and procurement to warehousing to logistics, everything is now being placed under the control of smart technology," said JD.com chairman Richard Liu in an interview with the WSJ last week. "We plan to make use of artificial intelligence and robots to create a business model that is almost totally out of human control. This is going to cut our costs and improve our efficiency."

 

Related:  New KFC Computer Tells Customers What to Order Based on How They Look