Tokyo, October 24, 2018 - Rakuten, Inc. today announced that it has successfully carried out a delivery trial utilizing a drone and an unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) in the National Strategic Special Zone of Chiba City in Chiba Prefecture.
Rakuten launched its drone delivery service “Rakuten Drone” in 2016 and is a participant in the Chiba City Drone Delivery Subcommittee. The company has carried out several initiatives in Chiba City aimed at making drone deliveries in urban areas a reality, including delivery trials. However, for drone-based deliveries in urban environments with dense populations and large numbers of buildings, one area that remains an issue is the method of delivering the product from the drop-off point to the door of the customer that placed the order.
For the latest trial, Rakuten has concluded an agreement with Mitsui Fudosan Residential Co., Ltd., one of the main companies in the Makuhari New City Wakaba Residential District Community Development Group, aimed at promoting businesses utilizing Rakuten Drone. The trial was carried out at the group’s Makuhari Bay-Park Cross Tower & Residence facility, which is currently under construction. The trials saw a Rakuten “Tenku” drone deliver a package to the front of the Makuhari Bay-Park Mansion Museum building. The package was then loaded onto the UGV, which delivered the package to one of the model rooms in the building in which the customer who made the order was waiting. The trial highlighted the challenges necessary to overcome for the growth of urban drone deliveries and demonstrated that such deliveries can be carried out safely.
Going forward, Rakuten aims to accelerate the development of unmanned delivery systems in urban areas by combining both airborne drone-based logistics with unmanned ground vehicles.