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WUHAN, Sept. 9 (Xinhua) -- China Post, the state-owned postal service giant, has expanded into the exciting world of smart courier deliveries.

The first city to trial the program was Xiantao in Hubei Province, central China.

More than 200 packages were delivered in the 10-day commercial trial, said Sun Jianlong, general manager of China Post Xiantao office.

Fully loaded with parcels, automated-delivery vehicles can travel up to 15 kph along roads.

"Radars and sensors on the vehicle use big data and artificial intelligence (AI), which allow the courier robot to move in compliance with traffic rules, while avoiding obstacles and pedestrians," said one of the developers behind the delivery vehicle.

A courier with 30 package slots can carry a maximum weight of 200 kg and operate in all weather conditions. Customers receive a call and a text message with a pick-up code 10 minutes ahead of their parcel's arrival.


Automated-delivery vehicles are controled by mobile app, Xiantao City, Hubei Province, central China, Aug. 28, 2019. (Xinhua/Cheng Yu)

"Did it come here by itself? This is unbelievable," exclaimed a customer surnamed Zheng after receiving her package.

China's fast-developing e-commerce sector has been good news for the logistics industry, as huge strides have been made in the development of logistics, storage, transportation and delivery advances.

Private e-commerce giants such as Alibaba and have already put smart courier devices in service. Unmanned delivery vehicles and logistic robots have been introduced to ease the shortage of manpower and increase efficiency.

In 2018, the smart logistics market exceeded 400 billion yuan (about 58 billion U.S. dollars), and this is expected to reach 1 trillion yuan by 2025, according to a report released by iiMedia Research, a Chinese consulting agency.

Sun said smart unmanned delivery vehicles are considered to be one of the most effective solutions for the "last mile" of logistics. China Post is looking to extend the trial to other urban areas.

China Post signed a strategic cooperation deal with Chinese tech firm Huawei Technologies in June to develop smart logistics, cloud computing and big data, to boost the use of information and communication technology (ICT) in the company's financial, delivery and postal arms.

The two sides plan to establish a R&D lab, while Huawei and the Postal Savings Bank of China, affiliated with China Post, will collaborate on an innovation center.