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Drone package delivery to be implemented in Chiba City by 2020

12 Comments

The city of Chiba will begin testing drone delivery of packages by 2020 after a government advisory panel designated it as a strategic special zone this week.

Drone use is currently regulated under the Civil Aeronautics Act which put new restrictions into effect on Dec 10.

However, the government panel, chaired by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, designated Chiba as a special zone for drone usage, along with Hiroshima Prefecture, Ehime Prefecture's Imaji City, and Fukuoka Prefecture's Kitakyushu City.

Chiba Mayor Toshihito Kumagai said: "We are pleased to have the opportunity to take a leap forward," Sankei Shimbun reported.

According to Chiba City, their plan is to have suppliers deliver goods to the Makuhari-Shintoshin area from logistic hubs in maritime areas in Funabashi City and Ichikawa City which are about 10 kilometers away.

Kumagai said the city has been in contact with companies such as Amazon and Rakuten in order to carry out the plan.

Amazon has been conducting trials in the U.S., but questions remain about package deliveries by drones. For example, at what height will they fly and can they fly in bad weather? Also, will there be special drop-off spots?

The Japanese government foresees a need to use drones to deliver supplies, such as food and medicines to remote areas or areas cut off by floods and landslides or other disasters.

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12 Comments
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This is excellent news. Btw, I've had Amazon deliver stuff to my house in chiba in under 4 hours from placing my order, more than once. We live 15 km from their massive hub in Ichihara.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Can someone please tell me how drone deliveries actually work? I live on the 12th floor of a condo. So if I buy something online from Amazon, for example, where does the drone deliver it? Does it appear on my balcony? Does it come in the first floor entrance the condo, enter the elevator and then move along the hallways and knock on my door? Or is there a drop-ff point outside the building where my package will likely be stolen if left there for too long?

Package delivery in Japan is extremely efficient and fast already. Last month, I ordered a DVD from Amazon,co.jp on a Saturday morning and it was delivered that afternoon. That's good enough for me. I don't see the needs for drone deliveries except, as the story says, in remote or cut-off areas.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

It's sort of cool to do this, but I think when there are thousands of drones overhead, I won't be so happy about it.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

A peeping toms dream. Remote control toys delivering parcels, whatever next?

Can someone please tell me how drone deliveries actually work? I live on the 12th floor of a condo. So if I buy something online from Amazon, for example, where does the drone deliver it? Does it appear on my balcony?

I was thinking the same thing.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I thought Drones were not allowed to flight over the population area per Abe's laws ? Guess that must, again, a law with variable geometry.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

About the Condo delivery, part of this experimental/trial in Chiba is to see what kind of drone will be the best suited for an environment as Japan. Apparently, based on what I read in other japanese articles related to this, they (Amazon and Rakuten mainly) are considering the delivery of the goods in the balcony.

Regarding the law regulating the flight and usage of Drones for delivery, the companies will adapt to what the laws require they say... and further more, Chiba City is able to "soften" this Drone law for this trial run.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

It's sort of cool to do this, but I think when there are thousands of drones overhead delivery by drone means less trucks on the road less diesel pollution etc. a drone uses probably less than 50yen in electricity to deliver an item. drones delivery wont suit everybody but people with enough space for it to deliver its package itll be very conventient. A truck would produce much more CO2 delievering its parcels than the equivalent drones every will

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Daniel

I think it would be amusing to see a drone arrive at my 12th-floor balcony. But I'm not sure how the drone would know which balcony is my apartment.

And I think that when millions of people start buying online, there will be some serious collisions between all the delivery drones.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@Braniac I know.. but algorithms baby!!... I don't know how those algorithms really work (I know the basic concept) but they do. Google has it and the moment we purchase something we put our complete address in the order... so from with the address and the mighty algorithms I suppose the drones will know which balcony... I think..

For the second part... also... algorithms...and programming. I think it is going to be like the automated luggage facilities that the big airport haves, only that instead of conveyor belts, will be drones (?)

0 ( +1 / -1 )

A disaster waiting to happen in my opinion. The first time someone gets hurt by one of these things falling from the sky will be the last time they fly.

Delivering to balconies? What happens if you are drying your washing, drone returns to base? A common delivery point would be needed for apartment buildings.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

a drone uses probably less than 50yen in electricity to deliver an item

But how does that work for items of different weights - 500-gram and 4-kilogram items surely present a different problem. A delivery truck can cram in items of all weights.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

If they fly over my property will they pay me a fee? If yes, then I am OK with this.

Cars can drive themselves these days so I guess drones should be able to fly around and avoid each other, unless airspace gets really crowded. I'm not sure what does a drone should do when it has other drones left, right, front, back, above and below. But no doubt some wireless crash prevention protocol can be established to resolve this.

I think the main issue will be the risk of drone malfunction and crashes. Life is hard enough just having to watch out for bird poop. But airplanes don't crash so much - maybe drones can be pretty reliable too?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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