Global ecommerce giant Alibaba is taking to the skies with a drone shipment offering to broaden its perishable items’ delivery options
The drones travelled from Putian, in China’s eastern Fujian Province, to nearby Meizhou Island on October 31, the company said in a statement.
The operation, which comprised three unmanned aerial vehicles carrying up to seven kilos each, is the first of its kind to cross water.
The UAVs were jointly developed by Alibaba’s delivery arm, Cainiao Network, the company’s rural shopping platform Rural Taobao, and a domestic technology firm.
It has been reported that it took each of the aerial devices nine minutes to travel five kilometres into strong headwinds.
Following the successful maiden voyage, Alibaba plans to use drones to deliver more high value-added products, such as fresh food and medical supplies, over water in the future.
The water-crossing mission comes just two years on from the company incorporating UAVs into its delivery arsenal.