Success in Package Delivery Experiment Using Drone Highway through Mountains ~TEPCO Ventures, Rakuten, Zenrin and Chichibu City jointly Conducted Beyond Visual Line of Sight Drone Flight Test!~
TEPCO Ventures, Rakuten Inc., (hereinafter referred to as, “Rakuten”), Zenrin Co., Ltd. (hereinafter referred to as, “Zenrin”) and Chichibu City have successfully completed a package delivery experiment using a drone highway*1 through the mountains.
This experiment is one of five being conducted across the nation as part of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport/Ministry of the Environment joint survey on promoting the practical application of package delivery using unmanned aerial vehicles in underpopulated areas in order to contribute to FY2019 CO2 emission reductions.
This package delivery experiment was conducted Beyond Visual Line of Sight *2 without a safety assistant for the pilot and corresponds to Flight Level 3*3 of the government’s Roadmap for the Aerial Industrial Revolution*4.
Now that Flight Level 3 has been achieved, the practical use of drones in society for package delivery in mountainous areas, damage surveys of disaster areas, and large infrastructure inspections, etc., is expected.
In order to assist with the safe flight of drones on the drone highway, Zenrin developed a monitoring application that simultaneously displays not only the status of the drone in flight and safe flight routes over transmission towers and lines, but also wind information acquired by weather measurement instruments installed on towers by the TEPCO Group. This technology was in turn provided to Rakuten that operates Rakuten Drone, a drone delivery service.
TEPCO Ventures and Zenrin will continue to develop airspace and flight routes needed for the use of drones by society and support the building of infrastructure for the Industrial Revolution of the Sky.
*1: Dedicated airspace/flight paths for drones
*2: The second test of its kind conducted based upon the Review Guidelines for the Permission/Authorization of Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Flight revised in September 2018
*3: 2018 Roadmap to an Industrial Revolution
Formulated by a public/private council on the development of infrastructure for small unmanned aerial vehicles on June 15, 2018
*4: Flight levels are defined in Roadmap to an Industrial Revolution as follows:
Level 1: VLOS; Human piloted flight
Level 2: VLOS; Automated/autonomous
Level 3: BVLOS; Less-populated areas* (without a safety assistant for the pilot)
*Locations that third-parties are unlikely to enter (mountains, ocean areas, rivers/lakes/marshes, forests, etc.)
Level 4: BVLOS; Populated Areas (without a safety assistant for the pilot)
Monitoring application screenshot
The “Tenku” drone used for package delivery via drone highways by Rakuten Drone