Aeronext Inc. (Shibuya-ku, Tokyo; Keisuke Toji, CEO; hereinafter “Aeronext”) and KDDI SmartDrone Inc. (Minato-ku, Tokyo; Masafumi Hirono, President & CEO; hereinafter “KDDI SmartDrone”) entered into a business alliance agreement (hereinafter “the alliance”) on September 20, 2022, for the societal implementation of drone delivery service.
In addition, KDDI Corporation (Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo; Makoto Takahashi, President & CEO; hereinafter “KDDI”) has invested in Aeronext (hereinafter “the investment”) through the “KDDI Open Innovation Fund No. 3” (operated by: Global Brain Corporation), which aims to co-create new businesses with promising venture companies.
In recent years, the number of vulnerable consumers who have difficulty in making daily purchases, such as groceries, has been increasing throughout Japan due to the decline in the working-age population, aging society with fewer children, and depopulation. To help solve this problem, efforts to utilize drones and other digital technologies are promising.
Through the alliance, Aeronext and the KDDI Group will work together to expand drone logistics to municipalities nationwide by leveraging the technology and expertise of each company.
■Details of The Alliance between Aeronext and KDDI SmartDrone
（1）Jointly conduct demonstration experiments for the introduction and adoption of drone delivery services for local governments
（2）Strengthen collaboration for the sale and introduction of airframes, mobile communications, and flight operation management systems required for drone logistics
Aeronext and the KDDI Group have previously collaborated, including conducting a drone delivery demonstration experiment*1 in Aga-machi, Niigata Prefecture in March 2022 and launching the “AirTruck Starter Pack “*4 , a drone delivery package combining “AirTruck “*2 and “SmartDrone Tools “*3 in June 2022.
Starting with the alliance and the investment, we plan to further accelerate our efforts toward the social implementation of drone logistics services, including plans to collaborate in drone logistics demonstrations and implementation in more than 14 municipalities by March 2023.
Aeronext, an R&D-oriented technology startup for next-generation drones that engages in IP management, is a company with the mission of “designing the sky through technology” to create a world in which the sky becomes social infrastructure and economized to solve social issues with drones. Aeronext’s core technology is 4D GRAVITY®︎, a proprietary structural design technology that improves the basic performance of industrial drones in terms of stability, efficiency, and maneuverability by optimizing the aircraft’s center of gravity. The company has a strong patent portfolio to incorporate 4D GRAVITY®︎ into industrial drones as standard equipment, and is promoting a partnership-based platform business globally based on the 4D GRAVITY®︎ license.
*Please see here for more information.
Aeronext is engaged in the development of SkyHub®*5, a new smart logistics service that integrates drone delivery and land transportation, with SEINO HOLDINGS CO., LTD., and, in November 2021, already started societal implementation of the service in Kosuge Village, Yamanashi Prefecture. In addition, Aeronext is actively promoting initiatives related to drone logistics, such as the joint development of “AirTruck,” Japan’s first mass-produced logistics drone dedicated to logistics, with Autonomous Control Systems Laboratory Ltd.
【About KDDI SmartDrone】
KDDI SmartDrone builds services that enable safe remote and long-distance flights by controlling drones using mobile communications such as 4G LTE. KDDI SmartDrone is working to create new businesses with drones and provide agile services that meet customer needs in various fields such as inspection, logistics, surveillance, agriculture, and surveying.
*Please see here for more information.
【About KDDI Open Innovation Fund】
KDDI Open Innovation Fund is a corporate venture fund that broadly supports venture companies. KDDI Open Innovation Fund No. 3, which is currently active, has a total investment amount of approximately 20 billion yen and focuses on AI, IoT, data marketing, fintech, B2B SaaS, entertainment, and other fields.
*1 Drone Delivery Demonstration in Aga Town, Niigata Prefecture
*2 AirTruck Logistics Drone AirTruck
AirTruck, jointly developed by Aeronext Corporation, a technology startup for next-generation drones, and ACSL, is Japan’s first mass-production drone dedicated to logistics and utilizes Aeronext’s proprietary 4D GRAVITY® airframe structure design technology to achieve stable flight. AirTurck is a dedicated logistics drone that is “faster, farther, and more stable” with optimal usability for logistics, specialized unidirectional forward movement, and aerodynamic characteristics required for long-distance flight. The AirTruck prototype has flown in demonstration tests in various regions of Japan and has the No. 1 flight record in Japan.
*3 SmartDrone Tools
The SmartDrone Tools service combines the “4G LTE Package,” which includes the basic tools necessary for remote autonomous drone flight, with “options” that suit the customer’s usage scenario. The “4G LTE Package” provides three tools in one: an “flight operation system” that enables remote drone operation and real-time video sharing from anywhere in Japan, a “cloud” for managing filmed data, and “mobile communications” for unlimited data usage.
*4 Drone Delivery Package ”AirTruck Starter Pack”
“AirTruck Starter Pack” is comprised of the AirTruck, a logistics drone developed in Japan, and SmartDrone Tools, a mobile communication and operation management system developed by KDDI SmartDrone that enables remote control and long-distance flight for drones that is highly economical and a safe package for drone-based delivery
A new smart logistics system that connects existing logistics with drone logistics and connects ground and air infrastructure to deliver goods anytime, anywhere. The introduction of SkyHub®︎ will contribute to the solution of social issues in the region, from the aspect of logistics reform, to the shortage of workers due to population decline, low birthrate and aging population, transportation problems in specific depopulated areas, medical problems, disaster countermeasures, and measures for the vulnerable. It will also contribute to solving social issues in the region, such as the shortage of workers due to population decline, declining birthrate and aging population, transportation problems in certain depopulated areas, medical issues, disaster countermeasures, and measures for the weak in the logistics industry.
*Aeronext and the Aeronext logo, as well as “4D GRAVITY®” and “SkyHub® are trademarks of Aeronext Inc.
*Other company names and product/service names mentioned in this press release are registered trademarks or trademarks of their respective owners.
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