Achievements/case studies

Komatsu City

Background and Issues facing Komatsu City

Komatsu City has a population of approximately 106,400, and the overall elderly population ratio is 28.7%, but there are districts in the mid-mountainous areas where the ratio exceeds 40%. There is concern that for the aging of the population in the mid-mountainous areas, living convenience in terms of daily shopping and receiving medicines will decline.

In order to maintain and optimize logistics services, the private sector and the government are working together to create a system to provide shopping services, disaster relief, and pharmaceutical delivery, etc. by incorporating drone delivery as the last mile transportation method and introducing a new smart logistics system that links and integrates ground transportation and drone delivery.

Introduction of new smart logistics SkyHub®

In December 2022, Aeronext Inc., together with Seino Holdings Co., Ltd. and KDDI Smart Drone Co., Ltd. concluded an agreement with Komatsu City to establish a new smart logistics system to address regional issues and contribute to regional development by utilizing next-generation advanced technologies including drones. The city has since been implementing SkyHub®, a new smart logistics system, using the Digital Rural City National Concept Grant Type 1.

In the same month, a demonstration experiment of drone delivery in mountainous areas was conducted in the Matsuhigashi area with the aim of building a new logistics service by utilizing next-generation advanced technology.  Anticipating shopping support and material support to address regional issues faced by Komatsu City, a drone delivery of daily necessities was made from Seseragi no Sato in the Matsuhigashi area to the Matsuhigashi Midori Gakuen. By allowing local residents and children to watch drone takeoffs and landings, we were able to generate interest in and understanding of drones.

After the demonstration experiment, Drone Depot® Komatsu was opened in August 2023, and new smart logistics SkyHub® service was launched.

Drone Depot®

Warehouses and bases for the accumulation and delivery of goods at the connection points between existing land-based logistics and drone logistics, with a setup that enables drone delivery of goods.

→It is located in the Honobono Matsuhigashi in the Matsuhigashi area.

Drone Stand®

Facilities or locations for drone takeoffs and landings located at the origin and terminus of drone logistics.

→Currently, 10 locations have been established. (As of March 2024)

Services Implemented

The following services have been implemented in the town Komatsu City. (as of March 2024)

Shopping service in collaboration with local stores: SkyHub® Delivery

A shopping and delivery service in which products from local stores and supermarkets purchased via the SkyHub® application are delivered to individual homes on the desired date and time. This service is also an initiative to support the DX activities of local stores, and is an online supermarket service.

In the Matsuhigashi area, customers can choose from approximately 120 food and daily necessities items (with more planned) from nearby drugstores, and select the desired time to place their order. The fee is 300 yen (tax included) for delivery and a service charge (10% of the total merchandise price). Orders placed by 12:00 a.m. will be delivered on the same day.

Food delivery service: SkyHub®Eats

SkyHub® Eats Komatsu” delivers food from 12 partner restaurants in Komatsu City by light van or drone. Delivery hours are from 11:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Orders can be placed via LINE or by phone up to 30 minutes in advance, and will be delivered to your home or business at a specified time in the selected areas of the city.

Drone Delivery

The project is being implemented with the aim of improving delivery efficiency by replacing delivery to areas and locations that are inefficient for land delivery with drone delivery.

・10 drone flight routes have been opened as of the end of March 2024.

・In September 2023, in collaboration with Yoshinoya, a major beef bowl chain, Yoshinoya conducted a demonstration drone delivery of Yoshinoya’s beef bowl lunchboxes (four beef bowl lunchboxes per delivery) in approximately six minutes over a distance of 2.5 km one way from the Yoshinoya Komatsu store to the Kiba Canoeing Stadium boatyard. The four gyudon bento boxes prepared at Yoshinoya’s Komatsu store were stored in a box and set into the drone by Yoshinoya’s Komatsu store staff, which took off at approximately 30-minute intervals starting at 10:30am and flew a total of nine times along one route to reach Komatsu citizens and canoeists.

In Komatsu City, where the birthrate is declining, the population is aging and depopulation is increasing, especially in the mountainous areas, and residents are facing serious difficulties in shopping and going to the hospital due to the discontinuation of bus routes and the surrender of driver’s licenses by the elderly. Since October 2022, we have been pursuing new smart logistics initiative in cooperation with Aeronext, utilizing the Digital Rural City National Concept Grant Type 1.

After conducting the demonstration experiment, we established a base in the Matsuhigashi area in August 2023 to build a local logistics infrastructure and begin providing logistics services, and we are gradually gaining recognition from residents and are hearing that they are using the service. We have high expectations that this new initiative will become an indispensable infrastructure for the community and lead to sustainable community development.

Yuichi Kawai, Manager, Smart City Promotion Division, Policy Department, Komatsu City