Japan Post Considers Using Drones to Ship Packages to Remote Islands

Japan Post Considers Using Drones to Ship Packages to Remote Islands

Admin Flex Air News, UAV Drones

Amid a shortage of delivery workers, Japan Post Co. is now thinking about enlisting the help of drones to deliver packages and mail to island locations and places located in mountainous terrain.

Japan has seen a decline in employment for the post system. With fewer workers to deliver to more remote locations, the post office is beginning to consider more drastic measures. They could begin flying packages by drones as soon as 2018.

E-commerce operator Rakuten Inc., along with the help of major parcel delivery provider Yamato Holdings Co., has begun testing drone delivery services. The project has been met by safety concerns from the Japanese government. However, if the plan is successful, the post system could be entirely done with drones by 2020 – even in urban areas.

Seiki Fukuda, Executive Vice President of Japan Post Co., has said that they are looking to fly drones between post offices and mountainous areas or remote islands. At a recent press conference, Fukuda stressed that in order to proceed with this project, government laws and regulations regarding drones would need to be loosened.

The reason behind starting drone delivery services in rural areas only is because of the safety risks this operation may pose. Most drone accidents are caused by human error, so an autonomous drone system would be optimal for this kind of service. Government officials are concerned about the safety of the people. Loss of packages is another concern as well as flying into power lines.

Japan Post has been experimenting with drone deliveries since 2016. They are hoping to develop a system that can deliver packages to the recipient’s doorstep. These tests were conducted in the city of Chiba, where packages were delivered to condominiums. The ultimate goal is to deliver shipments of products ordered from Rakuten’s online shopping center.

Yamato Holdings also conducted their own drone delivery system tests in Fukushima Prefecture last March. It seems as though the companies are ready to begin drone deliveries to rural and remote areas. The only thing standing in their way currently are the regulations regarding the use of drones in residential and commercial areas.

These Japanese companies are not the first to begin thinking about an automated, drone delivery service. Amazon has been in the news since they bought a robotics company famous for autonomous robots back in 2012. They purchased the company for $775 million and now operate 10,000 robotics with an automated system in a single warehouse. Amazon Robotics may have been the first to come up with the idea of a drone mail delivery service, but they are not the only ones considering it now.

Like Japan, the United States also has very strict laws governing the use of drones in residential and commercial areas. Drones are commonly used for aerial cinematography and photography in the United States. They are often called into use to survey damage from natural disasters as well. Recently, the state of Texas was very happy to see drones overhead as drone pilots traveled across the nation to help aid in the Houston cleanup after Hurricane Harvey.

Drones may be used for a vast number of tasks. They are handy, innovative inventions that certainly have a bright future ahead of them.