Japanese transport ministry supports drone delivery trials in partnership with Japan Airlines

The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism of Japan (MLIT) is aiming to utilize Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and drone technology as a way to respond to the needs of contactless delivery services on the remote islands of Japan. As a representative of the Shinkamigoto Solutions Council, Japan Airlines has entered into an agreement with the MLIT to participate in the Smart Islands Research Project of Japan, according a press release published by Japan Airlines.

On 18 February 2020, JAL conducted a trial transporting freight for approximately 46km within the local islands in Nagasaki with an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) helicopter. On the following day, in conjunction with JAL Cargo`s transport service, fresh fish from Shinkamigoto town in Nagasaki was successfully transported on the same day to a restaurant in Tokyo, demonstrating the potential for UAV services in Japan.

Utilizing the knowledge and experience of the Shinkamigoto Solutions Council, JAL aims to help construct a viable logistics network enabling the country to tackle various sustainability issues related to medical care, while maintaining a safe operating environment for drone related services.

Key Issues to be Solved through the use of UAV Technology
– Ability to collect and notify COVID-19 related test results via contactless technology
– Management of blood stock inventory at local hospitals to prepare for surgery
– Streamlining postal mail services
– Same-day transportation and commercial distribution of fresh fish to the Greater Tokyo area

Outline of the Demonstration
When: Between 3-12 November 2020
Where: Three routes: Shinkamigoto town, Ojika town and the City of Sasebo in Nagasaki Prefecture

Method: UAV remotely operated from JAL`s headquarters in Tokyo.

Details of UAV helicopter

Yamaha FAZER-R G2

Max takeoff weight: 110 kg

Endurance: 100 minutes

Max speed: 72 km/hour

Japan Airlines also flew a drone carrying emergency relief goods within a city in a mountainous area of western Japan in early November 2020. The demonstration formed part of tests aimed at operationalizing logistics services using unmanned aircraft, although the flight was cut short due to adverse winds, according to a report in Kyodo news.

During the test flight, 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 came from an unexpected direction.

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