Working to provide solutions to
logistics issues with “Rakuten Drone”
Rakuten began offering its first drone service in May 2016, with “Rakuten Drone” (formerly “Sora Raku”). Launched as a trial on a golf course in Chiba, Japan, the service allowed golfers to order snacks, drinks and other items through a dedicated app on their smartphones and have them delivered directly to them on a green via drone. This was Japan’s first consumer-facing drone delivery service.
The drone, known as “Tenku,” was specially designed for the service. Jointly developed by Rakuten and Autonomous Control Systems Laboratory (ACSL), the system allows for completely autonomous flight, and simple, safe operation through the “Drone Dashboard” on a dedicated mobile device.
Following their success on the golf course, the “Rakuten Drone” team has turned its attention to real-life logistical applications. They demonstrated the drone’s capabilities by making deliveries to islands on which people have limited access to shops, as well as through test deliveries utilizing mobile LTE networks. The team is also carrying out a trial delivery service that combines mobile sales vehicles and product deliveries by drones.
The more advanced drone technology and services become, the more comfortable and convenient our world can be. Drones could deliver medicine to people living on remote islands that lack pharmacies or hospitals, they could assist the elderly with everyday shopping, they could even distribute aid in times of disaster. Rakuten believes that drones have the capacity to fundamentally change the way we live in the future for the better.