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07/12/2019

A future realized by the ‘air mobility revolution’

Municipalities strive to implement next-generation transportation

Meanwhile in Osaka Prefecture, demonstration experiments of such vehicles are scheduled on artificial islands such as Yumeshima and Maishima. Additionally, local small and midsized companies shared their technology, recently launching a project to develop flying vehicles.

A conceptual drawing of a flying vehicle dubbed Hydrone, which is under development by small and midsized companies in the Kansai area. The name is a combination of “hydrogen” and “drone.”

In the project, they are planning to develop a one-person vehicle with six propellers, which is expected to be able to fly continuously for about an hour. They aim to have a demonstration flight at the 2025 World Expo in Osaka.

Mie Prefecture has high hopes for such vehicles to serve as social infrastructure linking remote islands and mountainous regions. In fiscal 2019, it plans to attract domestic private sector companies, including venture and logistics firms, to the prefecture as a site for their demonstration experiments.

Through these efforts, the prefecture aims to improve transportation in various areas, including those with remote islands and mountains, promote tourism and facilitate disaster prevention measures.

Hyogo Prefecture has promoted using drones in its administrative field. The prefecture owns about 30 drones, which, piloted by its officials, have been utilized in areas hit by disasters and at sites following construction.

A flying demonstration of drones at the Fukushima Robot Test Field.

From fiscal 2019, in cooperation with the city of Kobe, the prefecture hopes to streamline work in various areas and improve administrative services by actively utilizing drones throughout the prefectural government.

From fiscal 2019, in cooperation with the city of Kobe, the prefecture hopes to streamline work in various areas and improve administrative services by actively utilizing drones throughout the prefectural government.

Preparing aerial environment

Infrastructure projects are in progress to address the possible coming era where people would see new types of vehicles, including drones, frequently flying in the sky.

A demonstration experiment of an operation control system conducted at the Fukushima Robot Test Field at the end of February was designed to see whether 10 drones simultaneously launched by different business operators could safely fly without any collisions in an airspace of 900 meters by 600 meters.

The operation control system was developed by New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization, jointly with eight other companies and organizations including NEC Corp., NTT Data Corp. and Hitachi Ltd.

They are planning to release the system’s application programming interface so that other business operators who hadn’t participated in the project could conduct test flights at the Fukushima site.

The development of flying vehicles has progressed rapidly thanks to increasing social demand. The expansion of air-related businesses, the experiences of which have been limited to airplanes and airports, could impact the daily lives of people. This growth could lead to a boost in demand and potentially create a new industry.

In line with technological innovation and social transformations, it’s essential to move forward with the implementation of safety standards and the creation of operating rules.

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