Achievements/case studies

Town of Sakai

Background and Issues facing the Town of Sakai

In Japan, issues such as depopulation, maintaining public transportation in rural areas, and labor shortages in the logistics industry have become challenges.The Town of Sakai, with a population of 23,900, faces similar challenges and is actively addressing regional issues by introducing automated buses that can be used by residents and tourists as a means of transportation to maintain public transportation and revitalize the local economy. In addition, the town is also working to address regional issues in the logistics sector, reduce CO2 emissions, improve convenience for residents, and revitalize the local economy by building an efficient logistics system that utilizes drones and automated buses.

Introduction of new smart logistics SkyHub®

In October 2022, Aeronext Inc., together with Seino Holdings Co., Ltd. and BOLDLY Inc. and Cenec Co., Ltd. signed a collaboration agreement with the Town of Sakai to establish a new smart logistics system using next-generation advanced technologies, including drones, that will help address regional issues, followed by the Digital Rural City State Initiative. The parties are pursuing the societal implementation of the new smart logistics SkyHub® through the grant TypeX.

On the day of the signing ceremony for the agreement in October 2022, a delivery demonstration was held for the first time in Japan using a freight-and-passenger consolidation system that links an automated bus and a drone. In February 2023, “Drone Depot Sakai” was opened in the town of Sakai as a base for the new “SkyHub®” smart logistics system. 

In the same month, as a demonstration of the drone delivery service for residents, ground transportation and drone delivery were linked from the city center to deliver ramen noodles and beef sirloin box lunches prepared at a local restaurant to residents in the Kanaoka district of Town of Sakai.

Further, in April 2023, in order to contribute to addressing regional issues through the use of next-generation advanced technologies such as digitalization and drones, together with Demae-can Co., Ltd. we concluded an agreement with Town of Sakai and held a commencement ceremony to establish a new smart logistics system with a view to Level 4 drone deliveries, and implemented Level 3 drone deliveries. 

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 “S-start up Sakai Business Support Center” in the town.

Drone Stand®

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

→Currently, 11 locations have been established. (As of March 2024)

Services Implemented

The following services have been implemented in the Town of Sakai (as of March 2024)

Shopping service in collaboration with local stores: SkyHub® Delivery

In June 2023, SkyHub® TMS started operation, offering shopping services in collaboration with 23 stores in the Town of Sakai.

Beginning in March 2024, the shopping agency’s website was redesigned and the new site is scalable with the ability to link to My Number.

Food delivery service: SkyHub®Eats

Food from 23 partner restaurants in the Town of Sakai (as of March 2024) is delivered by drone or car for a delivery fee of 500 yen (tax included).

On-line ordering began in October 2023, and the number of users is expanding.

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.

・11 drone flight routes have been opened as of the end of March 2024.
・Level 3.5 flights began in December 2023.