Feb. 15, 2022

Carrying out a Demonstration Experiment for a Drone-Based Delivery Service in Katsuura City, Chiba Prefecture

Sumitomo Corporation, together with the Katsuura City Society of Commerce and Industry, Seino Holdings, Aeronext and NEXT DELIVERY, conducted a demonstration experiment for the provision of a drone-based localized delivery service in Katsuura City from February 9 to 11, 2022. Also, on February 11, a flight demonstration was carried out for the media, with the demonstration observed by participants such as Mayor Hajime Tsuchiya of Katsuura City, who attended as a guest.

Participants standing behind Aeronext’s logistics drone From left: Executive Officer Shuji Kawai of Seino Holdings, Mayor Tsuchiya of Katsuura City (a guest of the event), Chairman Nobumoto Odaka of the Katsuura City Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Representative Director and CEO Keisuke Toji of Aeronext, and General Manager Ichiro Tatara of Commercial Aviation Dept., Sumitomo Corporation
Aeronext’s logistics drone seen flying against a blue sky in Katsuura City. To deliver its payloads, the drone made a total of nine trips (taking five different routes), with the round-trip distance coming to around 1.6 to 4.6 km

The demonstration experiment was conducted to examine models for a drone-based localized logistics service provided in cooperation with local stores. Such a service is expected to help solve local issues related to logistics and access to shopping facilities while also contributing to the revitalization of local shopping areas and the establishment of a system to transport goods during disaster situations. For the demonstration, emergency goods as well as products provided by local stores in Katsuura City, such as daily necessities, a set of hot pot ingredients, Katsuura tantanmen noodles (a locally specialty) and cooked seafood items, were delivered by drones and trucks to facilities in the city, including villa area, an university, an elementary school, a temple, a guest house and a fishing port. The experiment was intended to raise local public awareness of the delivery method and identify problems to be solved for the regular operation of a drone-based delivery service.

After the successful implementation of the demonstration experiment, Kohei Takeda (Commercial Aviation Dept., Sumitomo Corporation), who was in charge of the project, expressed his heartfelt gratitude to Katsuura City, the Katsuura City Society of Commerce and Industry, Seino Holdings and Aeronext for their contribution to the experiment. "We will strive to build an optimal logistics system for local communities toward the commercialization of the system," he added. "Katsuura City is an attractive city with great possibilities. We will continue to embrace challenges to help solve local problems and put smiles on the faces of local citizens."

Sumitomo Corporation is working for the practical commercial use of air mobility systems and drones from the aspects of service, operation and infrastructure for the delivery of goods and the transportation of people. For service and operation, Sumitomo Corporation has formed a business partnership with Japan Airlines and Bell Textron for the creation of a new business in the air mobility field and has been carrying out demonstration tests with them using a large drone. Furthermore, in Singapore, Sumitomo Corporation will conduct a joint demonstration experiment with ST Engineering and Skyports for unmanned cargo delivery from land to a ship at anchor. For infrastructure, it has invested in OneSky, a developer of unmanned aerial vehicle control systems, and is conducting an industry-academia demonstration project on quantum technology and pioneering new markets for the simultaneous operation of multiple unmanned aerial vehicles in the future.

Going forward, under the project implemented in Katsuura City, Sumitomo Corporation will also examine the kinds of services that could be provided based on the combined use of drones and trucks, such as cargo delivery, personal shopper, intraregional delivery and food delivery services. Sumitomo Corporation will thereby foster the establishment of new social infrastructure to revitalize and increase the efficiency of regional logistics systems toward building a localized delivery service.

After being loaded with its cargo, the drone departed for its destination, with the safety of the autonomous flight being firmly managed throughout.
The drone delivered bananas to members of a university football club who were practicing on campus.
The drone delivered emergency goods to the rugby field of International Budo University to examine the use of drones in an emergency event. Also, daily goods and food items were delivered to some students of the university on the assumption that they were unable to go out due to illness.
Local citizens who had received a package of daily goods expressed their anticipation for the practical use of a drone-based delivery service in Katsuura, which has a hilly terrain.
The drone delivered chocolate to students at a local elementary school as a Valentine’s Day gift from their teachers. The students were excited to get their first look a large drone.
Adults and children alike were happy to receive delivery of sweets, curry rice, sushi, Chinese food and various other food items.
The Katsuura tantanmen noodles were successfully delivered in a special delivery box. "Here you are!"
The hot and delicious Katsuura tantanmen put smiles on the faces of those who got to eat the local specialty.
* All required measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 were implemented in conducting the demonstration experiment for the drone-based delivery service.

* All required measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 were implemented in conducting the demonstration experiment for the drone-based delivery service.