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JAL test-flies drone to carry relief goods in mountainous area

10 Comments

Japan Airlines Co on Wednesday flew a drone carrying emergency relief goods within a city in a mountainous area of western Japan as part of tests aimed at operationalizing logistics services using unmanned aircraft, although the flight was cut short due to adverse winds.

During the test flight opened to the media, a fixed-wing drone that can fly at up to 30 kilometers per hour departed from a park in Yabu, Hyogo Prefecture.

The drone had been scheduled to deliver the goods, including medicines, to a clinic around 5 km away, but was grounded due to safety concerns as the wind blew from a different direction from the one expected.

In March, JAL succeeded in flying a drone between a hospital and a clinic more than 20 km away in the city.

Masato Kunezaki, a JAL official in charge of the drone project, said JAL will test different types of drones that are more resilient to wind.

JAL teamed up with drone service provider Terra Drone Corp and the Yabu city government in spring to test drone services in a bid to solve challenges faced by regional areas where transportation networks are poor amid depopulation.

As the new coronavirus pandemic has taken a heavy toll on passenger flights, JAL and its rival All Nippon Airways Co are also looking at their drone businesses for growth, hoping to utilize their expertise in safe flights.

Earlier this month, JAL also tested a small-sized unmanned helicopter in a remote town of Shinkamigoto on the Goto Islands in Nagasaki Prefecture, southwestern Japan.

© KYODO

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

10 Comments
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waste of time and money.

7 ( +15 / -8 )

@R. T.

"waste of time and money."

Tell that to someone who needs food, supplies or medicine in a disaster area.

-3 ( +11 / -14 )

was grounded due to safety concerns as the wind blew from a different direction from the one expected.

Does not bode well for post-typhoon rescue services.

Plus, what's wrong with using a manned helicopter to these places? Some can carry quite a load in and carry injured residents out. Something drones can't handle, yet.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Plus, what's wrong with using a manned helicopter to these places? Some can carry quite a load in and carry injured residents out. Something drones can't handle, yet.

A manned helicopter is a $1,000,000 investment so very limited on how many are available in times of disaster whereas drones are less expensive therefore allowing rescue services to have multiple units being able to get urgent supplies to multiple areas within minutes of disaster strike. Great idea on how to use technology in a life saving way.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

"Tell that to someone who needs food, supplies or medicine in a disaster area."

There are a lot of more efficient, reliable, and less expensive ways for that purpose.

10 ( +13 / -3 )

It does not mention the payload that the drone could carry - 1kg 10kg 100kg???

Would be useful to know.

During the 3/11 disaster, helicopters were refused permission to fly at lower than usual altitudes, so could not deliver emergency goods.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Quite an expensive hobby with those toys. In theory it looks interesting and practicable, admitted, but I predict not in mass and real environment operation, when they will fall down like stones in legions. Even their bigger and highly sophisticated brothers in military are still far from being perfect and reliable.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

Cargo drones are a good tech and are being tested for resupplying mountain huts which are already unavoidably supplied by helicopter. The tests near me this year had a payload of 5kg, but that was for a small drone and a vertical gain of around 2000m.

People living in remote areas where the only road in is at risk of landslides and/or a bridge getting taken out must stockpile food and fuel. That should be a given. It would also mean that emergency supplies could be limited to lightweight things like medicines which can be carried by drone. The bar to pass for drones to be useful is not carrying in dozens of conbini bentos three times a day.

-6 ( +4 / -10 )

Better to have drones save people than have them for other uses.

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

Yes, drones have some way to go before they can claim any moral high ground.

Their record on the battlefield precedes them.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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