Skyports Drone Services has successfully completed a drone delivery proof of concept (PoC) in partnership with Kaga City and Kanematsu Corporation, which has partnered with Kaga City since 2021 for promoting regional revitalisation through the use of drones and aerial vehicles.

Transporting simulated blood and other materials of up to 3kg between Kaga Medical Centre to locations at Kaga Onsen Care Centre and Yamanaka Onsen Nukumori Clinic, the PoC flight paths mirrored actual high demand transport routes and sought to establish the time and cost savings that can be achieved with Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) drone operations.

The event was marked with a ceremony attended by Riku Miyamoto, Mayor of Kaga City, and invited guests that included business leaders and key stakeholders from and beyond Kaga City.

Mayor of Kaga City Riku Miyamoto said: “Kaga City believes that the PoC demonstrates the strong potential of drone technology in bridging pressing logistical challenges.

“With this first step, we look forward to further collaboration to expand on the types of services and deliveries we can provide to the community in Kaga, and set a standard for the rest of the country.”

Skyports Japan country manager Atsushi Okada added: “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.

“Our drone delivery operations have proven their impact in addressing logistical challenges and with each successful PoC, we are building on our repertoire of capabilities and proven use-cases.”

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

The flights effectively demonstrated the ability of drone deliveries in reducing transport times by over 50 per cent as compared to movement via land transport. It also provided valuable insight towards developing frameworks for evaluating and selecting take-off and landing sites, as well as mapping optimum flight paths that account for both high level airspace users and ground elements.

It 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 signed a Memorandum of Understanding in 2021 with Kanematsu Corporation for the eventual launch of commercial AAM operations in Japan.

In 2022, Skyports developed of a Concept of Operations in collaboration with Eve Air Mobility for the JCAB. In October 2022, Skyports opened its local Japan office in Tokyo, and appointed Atsushi Okada as its Country Manager.