Photo/IllutrationChinese company JD.com’s drone and autonomous delivery robot are expected to be introduced to boost Rakuten Inc.’s unmanned delivery service. (Kenichiro Shino)

  • Photo/Illustraion
  • Photo/Illustraion

E-commerce behemoth Rakuten Inc. has joined forces with Chinese major online retailer JD.com to upgrade its unmanned delivery service so that its drones can carry heavier packages over longer distances, the company announced Feb. 21.

By utilizing JD.com's expertise in high-powered drones, Rakuten aims to deliver goods sold through its online marketplace weighing up to 5 kilograms over distances of up to 16 kilometers.

Rakuten will also introduce JD.com's wheeled delivery robots that can carry up to 50 kg and move at a maximum speed of 15 kph in residential areas in the days ahead.

Since entering the logistics arena using drones, Rakuten has test-flown such devices and offered a delivery service on a trial basis working with various companies and municipalities.