Wingcopter & ITOCHU Drone Supply Certification in Japan

Advancing Drone Delivery: Wingcopter and ITOCHU Initiate Certification Process in Japan

In a significant step toward expanding drone delivery services in Japan, Wingcopter, in collaboration with ITOCHU Corporation, has initiated the type certification process for its Wingcopter 198 delivery drone, according to a company press release. This milestone marks the first instance of a foreign company’s drone, as well as the first fixed-wing drone, to be accepted for the type certification under the unmanned aircraft class-1 by the Japan Civil Aviation Bureau (JCAB) of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism.

This initiative, stemming from a strong partnership between the German drone manufacturer Wingcopter and the Japanese conglomerate ITOCHU, aims to leverage the Wingcopter 198 for commercial beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) operations within densely populated areas. Successful certification would position Wingcopter and ITOCHU among the pioneers of commercial BVLOS drone operations in Japan, a nation recognized for its aging demographic and geographical challenges, including numerous isolated islands, thereby highlighting the country’s potential as a prime market for future drone delivery services.

The collaboration seeks to establish drone delivery networks capable of providing critical and urgent supplies efficiently and sustainably, bridging gaps caused by challenging terrains and distances. Florian-Michael Adolf, Head of Certification at Wingcopter, emphasized the importance of this certification effort, noting it as a pivotal advancement toward the realization of commercial drone delivery within Japan and potentially beyond. Adolf praised the support from ITOCHU, highlighting the partnership’s role in navigating the certification process through shared expertise and resources.”This milestone represents significant progress towards realizing commercial drone delivery in Japan and beyond,” said Adolf. “At Wingcopter, we are striving for type certification, as it underscores our commitment to safety of our product, as well as the diligence and professionalism of our entire team. We would like to thank our partners at ITOCHU for supporting us in this process with their extensive knowledge, network, and resources.”

Masaharu Sato, Deputy General Manager of the Aerospace Department at ITOCHU Corporation, expressed optimism about the potential impacts of Wingcopter’s technology on improving lives, furthering the company’s commitment to this collaborative venture with Wingcopter’s leadership. “We see great potential in Wingcopter’s delivery drone to make everybody’s life better and are delighted with the promising progress in realizing this value. It is our honor to collaborate with the dedicated professionals at Wingcopter, led by the management team around Tom, Jonathan and Ansgar. We look forward to continuing this exciting journey together,” said Sato.

Ahead of the expected type certification, ITOCHU and Wingcopter are conducting Proof of Concepts under special permits to demonstrate the capabilities and benefits of the Wingcopter 198. These efforts include a notable trial conducted in May 2023, where the drone was used for the transportation of medical blood products, marking a first in Japan.

Beyond the Japanese market, Wingcopter is also pursuing type certification from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in the United States, indicating a strategic move to tap into the vast commercial potential of the North American market.

Wingcopter stands as a key player in the drone technology sector, known for its innovative unmanned, all-electric delivery drones. With a team of 150, Wingcopter focuses on enhancing medical supply chains and the logistics of urgently needed goods, driven by a mission to improve and save lives worldwide. The company’s unique tilt-rotor mechanism and software algorithms enable its drones to operate efficiently in diverse weather conditions, underscoring its commitment to innovation and safety in drone delivery services.

Read more:

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.


Subscribe to DroneLife here.

Related Articles