ANA Holdings and Wingcopter to set up drone delivery network in Japan
Air Japan parent company, ANA Holdings Inc.(ANA HD), will partner with German drone manufacturer, Wingcopter, to set up a nationwide drone delivery network in Japan.
The aim of the project will be to “help improve quality of life in rural areas across Japan” through the delivery of vital pharmaceuticals and other consumer products.
Tetsuya Kubo, vice president of ANA HD overseeing the Digital Design Lab, said: “The ongoing tests of Wingcopter aircraft represent a significant step forward in the creation of a viable drone transportation network”.
ANA HD is providing insights in compliance with local aviation regulations, while Wingcopter is training pilots, planning missions and designing operations.
Tom Plümmer, CEO of Wingcopter said: “Being able to help a global company like ANA open up new business areas and at the same time pursue our mission to save and improve lives, is what we tirelessly work for.”
Drone delivery trials have been conducted in Japan since 2018, and the first flights with Wingcopter aircraft took place in 2019. Also in 2019, ANA HD signed a memorandum of understanding with the Zambian government to conduct similar field tests with drones to improve the delivery of medical supplies in Zambia.
The first phase of the current tests took place in March 2021, with the supervised flight of a Wingcopter aircraft between Fukuejima and Hisakajima in Goto City, Nagasaki Prefecture.
The trials will help ANA HD determine which aircraft are suited to operate best in each region of the country, evaluating local weather conditions and demand for drone delivery.
Wingcopter recently opened its own representative office in Japan, offering solutions in commercial drone delivery.
Fellow German air taxi manufacturer, Volocopter, has also been expanding in Asia, with commercial services expected in Japan as well as Singapore.