100 km / h!? "Logistics revolution" spreading" March 3 at 16:19

With a "3, 2, 1" countdown,

the drone takes off from the launch pad to the sky.

The speed is about 100 km / h.

And in the air, flying out of the fuselage is a box with a parachute.

When I opened the box, the bento box wrapped in cushioning material had not collapsed at all.

(Nagasaki Bureau Reporter Riku Tachibanai / Saturday Watch 9 Reporting Team)

Saturday Watch 9

This content will be introduced in detail on Saturday Watch 3 (18:9 p.m. ~) on March 8.

Challenges on remote islands Everyday shopping

The drone flies over the Goto Islands in Nagasaki Prefecture, where NHK's TV series "Soar Up!" is set.

Goto City is a remote island consisting of 10 inhabited islands in the Goto Islands.

Fukue Island, the center of the city, has a population of more than 3,10 people, while other islands have a population of about 2000 to about 2,<>.

Of these, islands that do not have direct air or sea routes from the mainland are called "secondary remote islands" and are a particularly big issue among the remote islands where depopulation is progressing.

Almost the only means of transportation on Goto's "secondary islands" is by regular boat to and from Fukue Island.

When shopping, residents use liners to go to supermarkets on Fukue Island to purchase food and daily necessities for more than one week in bulk.

Some remote islands take the first flight in the morning to Fukue Island and return in the evening, so you have to spend a whole day for daily shopping.

In addition, the number of people who find it difficult to go shopping to Fukue Island due to the aging of the population is increasing, and the labor shortage due to the declining population has also led to issues in maintaining regular ships.

Stock up for 2 weeks

Kugajima, a "secondary remote island", is about 2 minutes by regular boat from Fukue Island.

With a population of about 20, when we talked to residents, many of them said that daily shopping was difficult.

"I shop once a week on Fukue Island, and once every two weeks when it's bad.

There aren't many shops on the island."

Drones crossing the ocean

One of the solutions to these island issues is the drone introduced at the beginning.

It is operated by a subsidiary of a major trading company established by Otoshi.

The drones used are called "fixed-wing" with wings, and their strength is that they are resistant to bad weather and can fly even in weather conditions where ships do not leave.

This drone delivers medicines and daily necessities for medical institutions.

After receiving the order, the company flies a route of up to 70 kilometers one-way from the base on Fukue Island set up by the company to the remote islands in the city and the adjacent Shinkamigoto Town in about 50 minutes, and drops a box with a parachute and delivers it in the sky above the destination.

We have gradually expanded our route and are currently opening and delivering seven routes in the Goto Islands.

To a service that reaches private homes

In addition, from February this year, we conducted a new demonstration project of "individual home delivery" in which food and daily necessities transported by drone are delivered to the homes of residents who place orders.

We are continuing to search for ways to make the service easier for residents living on remote islands to use.

On the other hand, one of the issues is profitability.

For daily necessities, the price for one box is 1 yen.

If it becomes expensive, use will be limited and it will be difficult to continue the business.

In the future, the company hopes to continue its efforts to secure stable profits, such as verifying convenience and expanding deliveries to businesses.

Representative Director
Michelle Mika Matsuyama said, "We have received comments from island residents saying that it is good to have such a convenient service, and I believe that there is the possibility of more innovative logistics improvement and transformation, as well as convenience and potential that is different from the past."

Can it be a savior for labor shortages?

These unmanned delivery services are not limited to remote islands, but are about to spread to the entire logistics industry.

The background is a serious labor shortage.

Panasonic Holdings, a major electronics manufacturer, is conducting a demonstration experiment of a delivery service using robots in a residential area of Fujisawa City, Kanagawa Prefecture, and is currently in the final stage.

It is carried by a small autonomous driving robot.

We deliver bread and vegetables ordered online to approximately 560 households.

Last year, for the first time in the country, we received permission to drive on sidewalks without security personnel.

Automated drive to destination

The robot runs at low speeds of up to 4 km/h.

While grasping the surrounding situation with cameras and sensors, it automatically drives to the delivery destination's house.

Stop in front of the pedestrian crossing to make sure it is safe and make sure no cars are coming before crossing.

Also, when there is a person nearby, you will be notified of their presence with an automatic voice such as "Please go ahead".

When the robot arrives in front of the house, it is notified by LINE, and the user receives the product.

Since the robot runs by judging the surrounding situation on its own, the operator's job to monitor remotely is only to confirm safety and operate in an emergency.

This saves labor and allows one person to monitor up to four units simultaneously.

This delivery service is currently free of charge and there has not been a single accident so far.

These automated delivery robots.

In the future, the company will increase the frequency of deliveries and expand the range of deliveries for practical use of the service.

Response to the 2024 problem

According to a survey by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, the number of parcel delivery packages continued to increase against the backdrop of the spread of online shopping, reaching 2021.49 billion in the last fiscal year and fiscal 2024.

On the other hand, the logistics industry is facing a crisis called the "4 problem."

From April next year, regulations such as overtime work for truck drivers will be tightened, making it difficult to transport trucks over long distances.

There are concerns about a decrease in transportation volume.

Delivery initiatives using drones and robots are spreading all over the country.

Through the interview, I felt that the day when such services could be used as a matter of course in our daily lives may not be far off.

Nagasaki Bureau Reporter Riku

TachibanaiJoined the Tokushima Bureau
in 2016 and is now in his current position