Once again, the Japanese manage to stand up to their reputation as technology aficionados and prove, this time by turning their heads toward the shipping industry and the promising innovative concepts it accommodates and promotes. One of these innovative and revolutionary ideas focuses on the development of delivery services using drones. In this context, Amazon should be noted as one of the several major companies that have embraced this initiative and quite successfully so too. Following their example, some of the main Japanese retailers are planning a number of field trials to test whether the use of such equipment for home delivery purposes can indeed prove effective.
It has been confirmed that the Japanese will test their drones in the city of Chiba in 2020, with the drones are to be launched from various vacant sites and guided toward various locations on Chiba’s coastline. In this context, it should be noted that the city of Chiba is now considered by the government to be a strategic location and therefore, some of the aviation restrictions here are expected to be lifted for the trials to be carried out in optimal conditions. It should also be noted that the trials will be supported by the Autonomous Control Systems Laboratory, a local start-up which started its activity under the University of Chiba and whose experts will look into the impact of the wind conditions on the coastline and a selection of other factors on the trajectory and overall performance of the drones.
As far as the delivery services to be provided using these drones are concerned, the Japanese are looking into a number of scenarios. As per the planning carried out up to this point in time, firstly the drones will collect parcels from various distribution centres such as those in Chiba or Ichikawa, among others. Subsequently, these parcels will be delivered to a large scale condominium development project carried out under the aegis of the prefecture. While the plans made so far include the drones being used for ground level deliveries only, the parties involved in the project have stated their intention to improve the performance of these drones to include deliveries from ground level to upper levels as well.
As expected, the idea of using drones for delivery purposes has stirred the interest of a variety of businesses worldwide and rightfully so. Thus, more and more of them are looking to join the project, from online clothing outlets to meteorological data companies. For starters, it is believed that the use of drones for delivery purposes will provide a solution to the labour shortage currently experienced within the home delivery industry. Also, they allow for more convenient delivery times by eliminating the risk of traffic congestion. However, a number of concerns regarding the use of such equipment have also been addressed, particularly in the context of drones being able to carry potentially dangerous materials, for instance. In fact, similar concerns have led to drones being banned in some places. Surprisingly though in this context, the number of permits allowing drone flights and other similar uses of such equipment is increasing.