Japan opens new UAS research and development facility at Fukushima supporting BVLOS demonstrations

Japan’s UAS Industrial Development Association (JUIDA) reports the opening of the Fukushima Robot Test Field (RTF), one of the world’s largest robot/UAS research and development facilities. According to JUIDA, the facility includes 21 facilities such as runways, bridges, tunnels, urban fields, and water tanks, with more due to be added in the future.

The facility supports demonstrations, performance evaluation and pilot training related to the development of UAS, disaster response, underwater exploration, beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) flights, as well as AI and IoT research activities. Among these, Japan’s New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization plans to set up a UAS flight management system that integrates the system of operators.

JUIDA, which is responsible for formulating UAS guidelines, will summarise guidelines on how to use UAS for infrastructure inspection and plant inspection. The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, and the Fire Department will coordinate drone flights according to the guidelines.

The RTF is expected to play a role as a national centre and will incorporate international data from other research and development activities. To date, 22 companies and universities have committed to establish research and development offices by mid-2020 and the facility will help to revitalise the local industry after nuclear power plant disaster.

(Image: JUIDA)

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