KDDI CORPORATION (Headquarters: Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, President: Makoto Takahashi), KDDI SmartDrone Corporation (Headquarters: Minato-ku, Tokyo, President: Masafumi Hirono), Japan Airlines Co., Ltd. (Headquarters: Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo, President and Group CEO: Yuji Akasaka), East Japan Railway Company (Headquarters: Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, President: Yuji Fukasawa), Weathernews Inc.(Headquarters: Chiba-shi, Chiba, President: Chihito Kusabiraki) and Mediceo Corporation (Headquarters: Chuo-ku, Tokyo, President: Kuniaki Imagawa) conducted a demonstration of pharmaceutical delivery management using a drone port (hereinafter referred to as the 'Demonstration') from February 13 to February 22, 2024, in Koto-ku, Tokyo.

This demonstration is based on the 'Demonstration Project for the Promotion of Drone Logistics Service Implementation in Tokyo', established by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government aiming to accelerate the social implementation of drone logistics services in Tokyo.

Following Japan's first pharmaceutical delivery demonstration using Level 4 flights in December 2023 (*1), this demonstration focused on using drone ports to verify the safe transfer of pharmaceuticals and to reduce the manpower required for delivery management.

(*1) 'First ever Demonstration of Level 4 Drone Flights for Pharmaceutical Delivery in Japan'

(Based on research by KDDI, KDDI Smart Drone, Japan Airlines, East Japan Railway Company, Weathernews, and Mediceo; as of December 8, 2023.)

Level 4 drone flight: Unmanned flights beyond visual line of sight in populated areas.

Role of each company in FY 2023 demonstration

1.Overview of the Demonstration


The verification of the effectiveness of drone ports and operational flows were conducted from February 13 to February 22, 2024, in preparation for the social implementation of drone logistics services.

In order for drone logistics services to be widely utilized in society, it is necessary to ensure the safe operation of drones and achieve safe and reliable delivery and receipt of goods. Additionally, improving convenience and reducing the labor required for delivery and receipt management are crucial factors.

Previous demonstrations required personnel for safe landing of drones and receipt of deliveries. Therefore, in this demonstration, a takeoff/landing site with drone port capable of storing packages was constructed in a location adjacent to a medical facility. The verification focused on the safety during takeoff and landing, as well as the convenience of supply management which is required for a drone-based pharmaceutical delivery service.

(2)Operational Flow of Drone Ports


IHI Transport Machinery

St. Luke's International Hospital

SHOWA University Koto Toyosu Hospital

Cancer Institute Hospital of JFCR

Tokyo Rinkai Hospital

2.Results of the Demonstration

During the demonstration period, approximately 40 hospital personnel visited the booth to experience pharmaceutical delivery using a drone port. Among them were individuals such as Dr. Goto, the president of the Tokyo Hospital Pharmacists Association from St. Luke's International Hospital, Dr. Kashiwabara from SHOWA University Koto Toyosu Hospital, Dr. Yamaguchi from Cancer Institute Hospital of JFCR, and Dr. Katsuta from Tokyo Rinkai Hospital.

Many participants expressed their desire to have compact drone ports installed in spaces such as the rooftops of hospitals. Dr. Goto, president of the Tokyo Hospital Pharmaceutical Association, commented 'In addition to receiving pharmaceuticals, if it becomes possible to ship them out from hospitals, it will enable returns and emergency transfers between hospitals. Furthermore, If the drone port can be used for pharmaceutical delivery at night, it will contribute to labor reduction during low-staffing periods for both hospitals and pharmaceutical wholesalers.

Regarding the social implementation, the need for drone ports of appropriate sizes for installation sites, the need for system integration between drone ports and drones, and the demand for drones capable of landing with high accuracy and carrying larger payloads were recognized. Based on the issues and expectations identified through this demonstration, efforts will be made to realize pharmaceutical delivery services in Tokyo in the future.

3.Future Developments

The technical, operational, and business challenges identified through this demonstration and previous pharmaceutical delivery verifications will continue to be examined. The focus is on establishing a safe operational system and a viable business model for the drone-based pharmaceutical delivery service.

In addition, there are plans to conduct a long-term drone service demonstration with Level 4 drone flights in Tokyo in FY2024. In the future, the goal is to advance demonstrations towards the realization of drone-assisted urban development and the expansion of diverse services, including logistics.

(C) 2024 Electronic News Publishing, source ENP Newswire