News & Press Release

Weathernews to Participate in Drone Logistics Business Development Project of Tokyo

Demonstrating the Ability to Provide Ethical Pharmaceuticals and Food Delivery Services via Drones

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[Joint Release]

A consortium of companies, consisting of KDDI Corporation (KDDI), Japan Airlines (JAL), East Japan Railway (JRE), Weathernews Inc. (WNI), Terra Drone Corporation (Terra Drone), adopted a joint plan to demonstrate the ability to provide drone-led delivery services to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government (contractor: Mitsubishi Research Institute, Inc.). Looking ahead to the transformation of logistics post COVID-19, the consortium will study the feasibility of delivering pharmaceuticals to hospitals, as well as providing food and security services in FY2020. Further, the consortium will verify operational issues and review the ability to generate a profitable business through these demonstrations in FY2021.

In recent years, the development of technology for drone-led services and changes in the environment has steadily progressed to a level to realize new business opportunities. The Japanese government has also set plans to establish a drone-led delivery business model within the next two years.

【Outline of the Project】
The consortium will study the business model of drone logistics services to deliver pharmaceuticals and conduct field demonstrations to verify the profitability of such businesses.

Due to the lack of delivery personnel and the impact of the global pandemic, the necessity to respond to changes in the logistics industry has become real and the use of drones may help realize automatic, contactless delivery services.

To build the foundation of a drone-led business, the consortium will utilize smart drone platforms (provided by KDDI) via mobile communications to realize safe and secure flight operations in urban areas.

1) Pharmaceutical Drone Delivery
- Demonstrate the delivery of ethical pharmaceuticals from a distribution base at Mediceo Corporation, a prescription pharmaceutical wholesale company, to St. Luke’s International Hospital during an emergency situation, providing an alternative option to existing delivery services.
- Contribute to improving medical technology and public health through instant and contactless transportation.

2) Food Delivery and Security Services
- Demonstrate delivery services from restaurants to offices in close proximity of the drone station.
- Demonstrate the use of drones to patrol facilities.

Role of the Members of the Consortium

KDDI Corporation

Project Leader, Provide Smart Drone Platform utilizing 4G LTE.

Japan Airlines

Safety Management of flights, Business development and feasibility assessment of pharmaceutical delivery

East Japan Railway

Land Owner around stations for the demonstration
Business development and feasibility assessment of Food delivery and Security

Weathernews Inc.

Provision of high-precision weather forecast information and weather observation equipment, cooperation with manned helicopters

Terra Drone Corporation

Provision of air traffic control platform including cooperation of manned air traffic control

【Flight Area】
Bay Area and around stations in Metropolitan Tokyo

From August 2020 to March 2022
(*) Support from Tokyo in FY2021 will be fixed when the budget for the year is approved by the Metropolitan assembly.

【External Supporters】
Mediceo Corporation: Support and advise pharmaceutical delivery and feasibility assessment.
St. Luke International Hospital: Support pharmaceutical delivery and feasibility assessment.

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