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JD.com builds R&D center for urban logistics systems

Chinese e-commerce company JD.com Inc. said Oct. 18 that it is launching a new research center in Xiongan, China, dedicated to developing automation technology for urban logistics.

The Urban Smart Logistics Institute is expected to help design more efficient and environment-friendly urban areas. It will initially look at designing underground logistics systems, using subterranean tracks and integrated municipal pipe corridors, to preserve open and convenient spaces above ground and minimize disruption to daily life.

The company also expects the project to alleviate some traffic and environmental problems, according to the release.

Nankai University, the Institute of Comprehensive Transportation at the National Development and Reform Commission, Beijing Jiaotong University, Beijing Wuzi University, Shanghai Maritime University, Sinotrans & CSC Holdings Co. Ltd. and Shanghai Municipal Engineering Design Institute are among the founding members of the center, JD.com said.

The announcement comes the same day JD.com rolled out a new parcel delivery service that uses its in-house logistics network.