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Rakuten, Lawson begin product deliveries by drone in Fukushima

20 Comments

Rakuten Inc and Lawson Inc on Tuesday began a trial initiative that delivers products by drones. The trial will operate out of Lawson’s Minamisoma-Odaka store in Minamisoma City, Fukushima Prefecture. This initiative is the first of its kind in Japan.

Odaka in Minamisoma City was designated as a district under evacuation orders due to the effects of the nuclear accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. This designation was rescinded in July 2016, and the town is starting to regain its former liveliness as its residents continue to return home. However, municipal officials say improving the shopping environment for daily necessities, food, and other products represents a high-priority challenge.

Lawson’s Minamisoma-Odaka store reopened in October 2016. It was the first convenience store to resume operations in the Odaka district. With this collaboration, mobile sales will be made twice a week from the store. But items that are unable to be loaded onto the mobile sales vehicle will be delivered by a Rakuten delivery drone to the destination from the store.

The drone, 20 centimeters long and wide, and 15 cm high, can carry up to around 2 kilograms of products.

This service trial will be carried out for six months after which consideration will be given to the official launch of the service.

Rakuten said the drone may not be able to fly due to weather conditions such as rainfall, wind, or extreme temperature.

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20 Comments
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Yay, Future.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

i don't know about you, but that looks way bigger than 20 cm to me. Reminds me of that scene from Monte Python's Holy Grail, where they talk about a little bird carrying a coconut.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

Rakuten said the drone may not be able to fly due to weather conditions such as rainfall, wind, or extreme temperature.

hahahhahahaaa

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Sf2k.

Those are lightweight drones and thus are affected like all other airborne vehicles.

Check the video of the landing aborted in Salzburg a few days ago due to heavy winds.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

They should use this for delivery of mail to remote hilly areas.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

About the only way to improve the economy up there will be to use machinery-what person wants to move (back) to a place with radioactive particles around?

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

i don't know about you, but that looks way bigger than 20 cm to me.

I think the article is wrong and they are talking about the package size, which seems more likely.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

I suspect there will be problems other than weather that prevent he drones from completing deliveries. Personally, I think they would be fun to dogfight with.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

been to Minimisoma with my geiger counter. not safe for delivery drivers. high radiation. This is a great idea to limit exposure for hard working people. if people want to live in such a place by choice, they have a right to equal access to services. Just i worry about the people who have to work to support their families. if instead of being out and about, they can stay in the warehouse and use drones, that is great.

nice news.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

The potential for this is huge. Rescue personal can send much needed medical supplies to remote areas.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Are there not rules which say that a drone "pilot" must have the craft in sight at all times or do they just rely on on-board cameras to navigate?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

The potential for this is huge. Rescue personal can send much needed medical supplies to remote areas.

A 2-kilo payload is not much, but it can mean the difference between life and death sometimes.

Are there not rules which say that a drone "pilot" must have the craft in sight at all times or do they just rely on on-board cameras to navigate?

Yes, there are. So, they will have separate rules for emergency aircraft, for sure, but I wonder about simple deliveries. Rules aside, most drones will lose connection with pilot if there is no line of sight between the drone and the pilot. The benefits will be there, but for limited areas. Island to island is a good example. The rates to take the boat only a short distance is nothing short of extortion.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Somebody will find a way to pinch these drones. Gonna be a huge black market for twocked Rakuten drones in China, Russia etc

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Gonna be a huge black market for twocked Rakuten drones in China, Russia etc

Lol. I just knew that Rakuten produces drones? Anyway, drone deliveries has been used by JD from China, and those were huge drones unlike this one.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Where are the drone delivery vehicles going to land in a country as congested as Japan? What if your dog or child runs up to the drone and grabs the propeller's and cuts off fingers or noses? This technology is cute but not practical until you develop delivery areas where the drone can land with no ability for humans or animals to approach the drone while it is approaching, dropping and lifting off. What about liability when a drone crashes and injures, maims or kills someone?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Interesting choice of place to kick off these deliveries, I guess they're trying to promote deliveries to hazardous locations ?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

But items that are unable to be loaded onto the mobile sales vehicle will be delivered by a Rakuten delivery drone to the destination from the store.

what items can't go into a small van? are they to big for a van, or to heavy, if so the drone won't be able to pick them up, so I am a bit confused by this above statement

1 ( +2 / -1 )

If Drones have problems under certain conditions how will the home deliveries robots do under icy and snowy conditions?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Wonder when we'll start seeing accidents involving drones, and who will be liable ?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

hope for no wind or robberies guys. this wont work

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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