Gov’t carries out first drone test to deliver food in rural areas


The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transportation and Tourism carried out its first experiment in delivering food and daily supplies to elderly households in sparsely populated areas this Wednesday.

The experiment was conducted in Nakacho, Tokushima prefecture, and was targeted at elderly residents who have difficulties going shopping as well as areas where transportation costs are higher than others due to difficult access.

The drone, which carried daily supplies and food, such as eggs, was operated manually at take off and via programming during the actually flight. It flew a total distance of 500 meters at an altitude of 50 meters over crop fields, before it delivered the packages.

The experiment was conducted jointly with Miyakawa 21, a Tokyo-based firm that is looking into the possibility of developing drones as a potential delivery services business.

The ministry is planning to conduct a resident survey as a followup of the experiment.

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500 meters. Holy ShimeSaba...half a kilo.

At least there is no tipping in Japan. Drone delivery would be a nightmare in America. The drone would not leave until you dropped a tip in the till.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

drones are bloody noisy so I don't see how this would be acceptable. Have they tried delivery by dirigible?

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Hope they licensed them buggers!

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

How many 'supplies' and eggs did it carry? 1kg...5kg...10kg or more?

I might hazard a guess that until it can reliably carry at least 10kg more than 20km, it's not going to be worth doing...that would be really rural access.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Robots are coming!!! Run for your life!

But seriously...will it be cheaper than sending via Yamato? They go everywhere anyway!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Drones might not push Kuroneko Yamato out of the delivery market, but they could be a godsend after the next earthquake /tsunami/landslide/flood when communities are cut off and supplies cannot get through.

But elderly residents who have difficulties going shopping on a daily basis should perhaps consider moving somewhere a bit more accessible, where the welfare services can reach them more easily?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

I thought rural areas usually produced food...

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

It has now opened a new era where we need to prepare for what they're going to do with the small unmanned aircrafts. Hopefully, drones won't be blown about by a sudden gust of wind while delivering at the worst.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

"first drone food test" Let's have many more.. heat seeking mountain rescue comes to mind along with a lot of other applications.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I can just see drones buzzing around in circles trying to figure out where 3-chome is.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Sounds good.

My suspicions wouldn't be with the tech but with how much this experiment cost and how that government department chose that firm to do it. It sounds like something you could have got a drone enthusiast to do just as well for next to nothing, not the millions of yen the firm probably charged.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

If they're only 500 meters away, wouldn't it be easier to just drive the rest of the way to drop off the food? Instead of stopping, getting out, setting up the drone, flying it, then walking over to where it crashed

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

As someone mentioned upthread, conventional auto delivery is just too expensive? Doubt it.

Commercial drones like these will remain a fad gadget. For one thing, they can't fly in a heavy rain or a light snowfall. And where's the skinship in all this?!

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Great idea Cleo. You've just suggested the best use for drones for delivery should be for emergency situations.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Funny how drones are "dangerous" and their owner operating one must go to jail per the Japanese law but suddenly are welcomed and a good "tech" when managed by govt and J.INC.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

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