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 This designation was rescinded in July 2016, and the town is starting to regain its former liveliness as its residents continue to return home.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.© Japan Today