Achievements/case studies

「Application of Cooperative Control between Autonomous Vessels and Drones Using Quasi-Zenith Satellite System Michibiki to Logistics Network」Joint Project

~Successful drone delivery take off and landing demonstration experiment on an autonomously navigating vessel off Omishima Island, Hiroshima Prefecture~

In a joint project with the National Institute of Technology, Hiroshima College and in cooperation with Eight Knot Inc., Aeronext conducted a drone delivery demonstration between an autonomously navigated ship and the coast by using the Quasi-Zenith Satellite System, Michibiki, to coordinate and control the autonomously navigated ship and drone. This was the first such experiment in Japan requiring the coordination of advanced next-generation technologies in the sea and air, and we successfully landed a drone on an autonomously navigating ship.

This experiment was conducted in November 2022 off the coast of Osakikamishima Island, Hiroshima Prefecture, to demonstrate drone delivery between an autonomous vessel and the coast by linking the autonomous vessel and a drone,demonstrating the concept of providing essential shopping support to residents in remote island areas. This experiment was conducted under the “Demonstration Project Using the Quasi-Zenith Satellite System Michibiki,” sponsored by the Cabinet Office of the Government of Japan.

The National Institute of Technology, Hiroshima College, Aeronext, which conducts research and development of next-generation drone technology, including its unique structural design technology 4D GRAVITY®︎, and Eightknot, which works to solve issues on remote islands by using autonomous navigation technology for water transportation and transport, will pool their respective strengths and expertise in this project. For advanced positioning and highly secure information communication, we conducted a demonstration experiment to build a new future logistics delivery infrastructure based on a cooperative control system that links autonomous EV vessels and drones, utilizing Michibiki’s positioning information provision service.

Outline of the Demonstration Experiment

1. Background and Purpose

On completely remote islands, islands with no land connection to the mainland, there are many elderly people and access to basic needs shopping is an issue, there is a need to implement a delivery service that reliably delivers transported goods to every corner of the remote islands. In order to provide last-mile transportation services on the islands, on top of the already explored autonomous water transport and transportation services, this time we will connect with drones to demonstrate the future potential of delivery services that combine autonomous EV vessels and drones.

In order to achieve a delivery service that reliably delivers cargo to every corner of remote island regions, advanced location information and highly secure information communication are essential. To that end, we will utilize Michibiki’s location information provision service.

2. Outline

1) Date: Friday, November 25, 2022

2) Area:  East coast of Osakigamijima

3) Demonstration Description:

Development of cooperative control technology between autonomous vessels and drones using Michibiki’s CLAS

Demonstration experiment of delivery service on the east coast of Osaki-kamijima Island using cooperative control technology between autonomous vessels and drones

Estimate the economic feasibility of implementation and understand the needs of users.

Identify factors and issues in the legal development necessary to realize delivery service by unmanned robots.

Organize a roadmap for horizontal deployment in urban areas and non-urban areas with underdeveloped road transportation networks.

4) Implementation Details:

A dedicated drone equipped with Aeronext’s proprietary structural design technology 4D GRAVITY®︎, developed for this demonstration experiment, departed from the dorm of the students of the National Institute of Technology, Hiroshima College on the coast for a ship that was automatically navigating in the east coast area of Osakikamijima Island, and landed on the ship. The drone loaded a box of donuts prepared in advance and took off for the coast. After landing on the coast, it was safely delivered to the waiting students of National Institute of Technology, Hiroshima College.