A commercial drone delivery service in Japan in 2022 is to use technology from a leading German developer.
The Wingcopter fixed wing VTOL (Vertical Take-Off and Landing) drone will be used to carry pharmaceuticals and other consumer products across Japan through a deal with ANA.
ANA HD, which also owns All Nippon Airlines, is providing insights gained from decades of aviation experience that is helping Wingcopter in full compliance with local aviation regulations. Wingcopter is providing support in terms of training of pilots, mission planning, operation design as well as maintenance.
“The ongoing tests of Wingcopter aircraft represent a significant step forward in the creation of a viable drone transportation network,” said Tetsuya Kubo, Vice President of ANA HD overseeing the Digital Design Lab. “We are excited to partner with Wingcopter as we build on the advances and innovation of previous trials to bring drone delivery one step closer to reality. Once fully realized, a functioning drone transportation infrastructure will help improve quality of life in rural areas across Japan.”
“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,“ adds Tom Plümmer, CEO of Wingcopter. “We are really looking forward to the next steps and the overall partnership with ANA in Japan and beyond.”
ANA HD has already tested advanced autonomous prototype baggage loaders and towing tractors at Saga Airport in Japan and in 2016 began to lay the framework for its drone transportation infrastructure.
It has been conducting 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 an MOU with Zambia Government to conduct similar field tests with drones to improve the delivery of medical supplies in Zambia. ANA plans to launch