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Alibaba trials remote-controlled drone program with ginger tea deliveries

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By John McCarthy | Media editor

February 4, 2015 | 2 min read

Alibaba has launched its first ever public drone trial which will see the remote-controlled aerial devices in the skies of China’s three largest cities over the next three days.

This week, the e-commerce firm’s online marketplace TaoBao, will deliver 450 bundles of Shou Quanzha ginger tea to consumers within the hour they are ordered, reports Tech in Asia.

The scheme will be run in districts of Shanghai, Guangzhou and Beijing with the drones being controlled by pilots instead of GPS-guided artificial intelligence.

A company spokesperson told TechCrunch in a statement: “This one-off campaign is an effort to bring unique and innovative shopping experiences to consumers on Alibaba’s e-commerce ecosystem.”

Although the trial is limited to a small output of ginger tea weighing under 340 grams, the scheme will put Alibaba one step ahead of Amazon which will have drone deliveries up and running in the next few years in the UK.

Check out TaoBao's promotional video for the scheme below.

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