Japan Explores Drones for Regional Issues

Setouchi Town: Kagoshima Prefecture regional problem-solving drone demonstration experiments

This article published in collaboration with JUIDA, the Japan UAS Industrial Development Association.

Japan is exploring the use of drones to address regional problems, particularly in the country’s many isolated villages with low populations.

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Japan Airlines (JAL) is taking the lead, demonstrating drone solutions as part of their “Amami Islands Sustainable Project.” Drone delivery is one way that Japan will use drones: from the transportation of daily necessities and medical supplies to disaster relief packages.

JAL has also been a major participant in Setouchi Town’s “Smart Town Promotion Project Using Drones”. JAL conducted demonstration flights on November 17, 2022: building out an implementation model for remote island drone use. The framework includes using drones equipped with Information and Communications Technology; and a centralized remote operations center in Koniya, Setouchi Town, which can operate multiple large drones capable of carrying a 20 kg (about 44 pounds) with a range of 40 km (close to 25 miles.)

On November 10, 2022, Setouchi Town announced a consortium (Mori Construction, Aerial Works, ANA HD, Sojitz Kyushu, Ishikawa Energy Research) to start testing a drone delivery service using multiple drones of different types and long-distance flights. The consortium will fly multicopters with up to 1.7kg payload from supermarkets in Setouchi Town to the Amami Islands, delivering food and daily necessities. The consortium hopes to partner with local businesses in the region to implement drone logistics as a new industry – one that can solve regional problems and be replicated in other remote communities.

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Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has penned over 3,000 articles focused on the commercial drone space and is an international speaker and recognized figure in the industry. Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.
For drone industry consulting or writing, Email Miriam.

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