Jul 12, 2017 at 12:00am ET By Joanna Hughes

Coordinating deliveries in and around universities can be a massive logistical undertaking. Now, several universities in China have some extra “manpower” when it comes to getting things where they need to go: Robot deliveries. Read on for a closer look at the application of this technology on Chinese college campuses, as recently reported by China Money Network.

Technology Takes Off

Also known as Jingdong (and formerly called 360buy), JD.com is one of China’s largest B2D online retailers, and is also a world leader in the area of high-tech and AI delivery via drones and robots. Most recently, the company has ventured into the world of robot delivery services within the higher education sector. Why colleges and universities? “Students are more adaptive to new technology,” according to China Money Network.

So what, exactly, do these robots do? Says China Money Network, “The delivery robots are essentially self-driving vehicles equipped with parcel storage units and smart locks that can be operated via a QR code. With different sizes, the robots are electric powered and have a range of 20 kilometers on one charge at around 15 kilometers per hour.”

Beyond the Basics

But the delivery robots’ current capabilities are just the start. With a 12-year-plan focused on “technology, technology, technology,” JD.com is also looking for other ways to take logistics and delivery services to the next level through technology.

Currently under development? Everything from stair-climbing, heavy-lifting “smart” robots to the incorporation of facial recognition technology for security purposes. The company will also debut a new virtual reality service aimed at helping digital users have more immersive experiences.

The takeaway for today’s students tired of schlepping to the mail room to pick up their care packages and Amazon Prime deliveries? While self-driving vehicles may not yet have made their way to your campus, robot deliveries may just be a matter of time.

Read more about studying robotics.

Joanna worked in higher education administration for many years at a leading research institution before becoming a full-time freelance writer. She lives in the beautiful White Mountains region of New Hampshire with her family.

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