Skyports Drone Services completes drone delivery PoC in Japan


Mr Riku Miyamoto (center), Mayor of Kaga City, with representatives from Skyports, Kanematsu Corporation, the Kaga City Council, NTT Communications, and venue host, Kaga Medical Centre, at the showcase event. (credit: SDS)

Skyports Drone Services, in partnership with Kaga City and Kanematsu Corporation, has completed a drone delivery proof of concept (PoC).

Since 2021 Kanematsu and Kaga City have jointly “promoted regional revitalisation” through the use of drones and aerial vehicles. Transporting simulated blood and other materials of up to 3kg between Kaga Medical Centre and locations at Kaga Onsen Care Centre and Yamanaka Onsen Nukumori Clinic, the PoC flight paths mirrored actual high demand transport routes.

Following an in-depth planning phase that included approvals from the Japan Civil Aviation Bureau (JCAB), and on ground support and knowledge from Kaga City, the PoC flights were designed to assess the feasibility and impact of BVLOS drone deliveries in improving speed, connectivity and safety in the delivery of medical supplies.

The event was marked with a ceremony attended by Mr Riku Miyamoto, Mayor of Kaga City.“Kaga City is proud to be at the forefront of introducing drone delivery services to Japan, and believe that the PoC demonstrates the strong potential of drone technology in bridging pressing logistical challenges,” said Mayor Miyamoto. “We are committed to leveraging on innovative and impactful technologies to elevate the lives of our residents and bring new socio-economic opportunities in the months and years ahead.”

With this first step, Mayor Miyamoto said Kaga “looks forward” to further collaboration to expand on the types of services and deliveries it can provide to the community.

The flights effectively demonstrated the ability of drone deliveries in reducing transport times by over 50% as compared to movement via land. The PoC also accounted for environmental factors such as temperature fluctuations with temperatures ranging between 2 and 9 degrees Celsius, as well as rain, snow and wind conditions.

Skyports’ Japan Country Manager, Atsushi Okada said: “Japan has a diverse landscape that encompasses mountainous terrain and thousands of islands and water bodies, making it a prime location to benefit from drone technology. We are confident that our drone delivery operations have proven their impact in addressing logistical challenges and elevating safety standards. With each successful PoC, we are building on our repertoire of capabilities and proven use-cases. This milestone is a significant step forward that will provide a strong roadmap for the wider-scale adoption of drone technology in Japan.”

The successful PoC is the latest milestone in Skyports’ progress in Japan over the past two years.

On the AAM front, Skyports signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in 2021 with Kanematsu Corporation for the eventual launch of commercial AAM operations in Japan. Last year, Skyports began development of a Concept of Operations in collaboration with Eve Air Mobility for JCAB. Then in October 2022, the firm opened its local Japan office in Tokyo, appointing Okada as Country Manager.