Rakuten Delivery Drones Debut at Japanese Golf Course
Alexander Neil / 3 years ago
Japanese golfers will soon only be a drone away from a fresh supply of drinks and snacks while out on the course courtesy of major Japanese online shopping company, Rakuten. Set to start service in May, Rakuten will be deploying their drones firstly to a course in Chiba, to the east of Tokyo.
Ordering for the drone delivery will all be done through an Android app, with golfers able to choose from a list of around 100 items, up to a maximum order weight of 2kg. Deliveries will be available from 8:30pm to 3pm every day, although the service won’t be running in bad weather.
The drones will make the deliveries from a dedicated drone depot, where humans will manually pack the delivery, load the drone and set its delivery location. The drone is then capable of travelling to the designated destination and once the delivery is complete, return to the depot entirely autonomously. The drone that will be making the deliveries is from Autonomous Control Systems Laboratory (ACSL), a company which Rakuten bought shares of in March. It sport a six-rotor design and is modified from its original design to allow it carry goods in a small box attached to its underside.
The service will be available at the golf course for a month initially, with the future of the drone deliveries based on feedback that Rakuten receives from golfers that make use of the pilot service. Should it prove popular and successful, it may be rolled out to more courses across Japan and maybe even beyond.