Japanese Drone Delivers Wine to Nearby Park
Drone delivery tests have begun the coastal city of Chiba, 25 miles west of Tokyo, marking the first drone deliveries in an urban area of Japan.
Despite the government prohibiting drones from flying in densely packed urban areas, drone delivery continues to gain steam in Japan. The Japanese government, drone maker Autonomous Control System Laboratory (ACSL), and other companies have begun testing drones for home deliveries in the coastal city of Chiba, 25 miles west of Tokyo, according to local reports, marking the first drone deliveries in an urban area of Japan.
The first drone delivery test involved a six-rotor drone taking off from the rooftop of the Aeon Mall Makuharishintoshin shopping center and safely bringing a bottle of wine to a group of spectators at a nearby park. The drone delivery tests also successfully airlifted medicine from the ground to the rooftop - it was 31 meters off the ground - of a 10-story apartment building. None of the reports specify the distance of either drone delivery test.
According to Japan Today, the next stage of the trial will have drones pick up packages at a warehouse on Tokyo Bay and deliver them to Chiba’s Mihama Ward, about 10 kilometers away.
According to the reports, the local government wants to build condos with landing areas on their balconies where drones can safely land and drop off goods.
Of course, drone delivery is slowly but surely gaining traction in the United States, as well. Flirtey, a Nevada-based startup, recently completed the first FAA-approved urban drone delivery in the United States, delivering a package that included bottled water, emergency food and a first aid kit to a residential area in Hawthorne, Nevada.
Flirtey says the six-rotor drone flew along a half-mile, pre-programmed delivery route and lowered the package at a precise drop-off location. A Flirtey pilot and several visual observers were on standby during the delivery as a backup to the autonomous system, but were never needed.
Flirtey also carried out the first FAA-approved drone delivery in the US, delivering (watch below) medical supplies from an airfield to a medical clinic in Wise County, Virginia in 2015.
Foodpanda, the world’s largest online food delivery platform, is also testing drone delivery in Singapore. Foodpanda started testing drone delivery a few months ago, and CEO Ralf Wenzel says that if the trials go well, a Singapore-wide rollout of food delivery drones could happen in the coming years.