Shintotsukawa Town, KDDI SmartDrone, Aeronext, ACSL, and Dentsu Hokkaido sign agreement on “town planning for drones”  /Announcement of KDDI SmartDrone Academy Shintotsukawa Opening

Shintotsukawa Town (Mayor: Hideki Taniguchi), KDDI SmartDrone Inc. (Minato-ku, Tokyo; Masafumi Hirono, President&CEO; hereinafter “KDDI SmartDrone”), Aeronext Inc. (Shibuya-ku, Tokyo; CEO: Keisuke Toji, hereinafter “Aeronext”), ACSL Ltd. (Edogawa-ku, Tokyo; Representative Director and CEO: Satoshi Washiya; hereinafter “ACSL”), DENTSU HOKKAIDO INC. (Sapporo, Hokkaido; President&CEO: Taira Kimura; hereinafter “Dentsu Hokkaido”)signed a partnership agreement on January 12, 2024 regarding “town planning for drones.”

From left to right: Naoya Mukado, CMO, ACSL; Masafumi Hirono, President&CEO, KDDI SmartDrone; Hideki Taniguchi, Mayor, Shintotsukawa Town; Keisuke Toji, CEO, Aeronext; Taira Kimura, President&CEO, Dentsu Hokkaido
KDDI SmartDrone Academy*1 Shintotsukawa, the first such academy in Hokkaido

In conjunction with the signing of the agreement, an opening ceremony was also held on the same day for the “KDDI SmartDrone Academy Shintotsukawa,” the first such academy to open in Hokkaido.
The purpose of this agreement is to build a partnership between Shintotsukawa Town and the four companies to promote projects that jointly create new societal value using drones by taking advantage of each other’s resources and strengths, and to contribute to the revitalization of the region through a variety of collaborations.
Shintotsukawa Town and the four companies will focus on drones, which are already being used in the town for agriculture. The parties will also develop drone-related human resources by attracting schools where students can acquire first- and second-class unmanned aircraft pilot certifications, which was codified as a nationally recognized certificate last year. Further, the parties will implement new smart logistics*2 service using drones, establish and operate a drone test course for the purpose of developing cold-weather technology, and will promote “town planning for drones” through various other projects.

Shintotsukawa Town has been selected for the 2023 “Digital Rural City National Concept Grant (Local Development Promotion Type (Horizontal Development Type))” and will pursue projects utilizing this grant for the next three years.

<Outline of Agreement>

1. Date
Friday, January 12, 2024

2. Areas of Cooperation
(1) Development of drone-related human resources
(2) Drone technology development
(3) Creating new industries utilizing drones
(4) Promoting the town’s advantages using drones
(5) Promotion of other community development

<Overview of KDDI SmartDrone Academy Shintotsukawa>
1.Date of School Opening
Friday, January 12, 2024

-First Class Unmanned Aircraft Pilot Certification
-Second Class Unmanned Aircraft Pilot Certificate

3.Date for Start of Applications
Friday, January 12, 2024



<Comments from Hideki Taniguchi, Mayor, Shintotsukawa Town>
Shintotsukawa Town has launched the “Shintotsukawa Town Drone Project” this fiscal year, which will focus on four pillars: 1) attracting drone schools, 2) demonstration and development of drone technology for cold regions, 3) demonstration and development of new logistics businesses, and 4) development of attractive tourism offerings.
This agreement will create new ideas that go beyond the framework of the project, utilizing the government’s Digital Rural City National Concept Grant, and will contribute to the revitalization of the region by connecting with the spirit of trust and cooperation for the future, even beyond the three-year project period, to improve the convenience of residents and the attractiveness of the town. We hope that this project will make Shintotsukawa shine even brighter.

Hideki Taniguchi, Mayor, Shintotsukawa Town speaking

<Comments from Masafumi Hirono, President&CEO, KDDI SmartDrone>
KDDI SmartDrone is very pleased to have concluded this agreement with Shintotsukawa Town and the other parties. KDDI Smart Drone provides solutions to solve customers’ problems in various fields under the mission of “Fly to make it happen.” In Shintotsukawa Town, which has a high percentage of drone ownership, we hope to make drones more accessible through the development of operational personnel. We will strive to help position drones as a new industry in Shintotsukawa Town.

Masafumi Hirono, President&CEO, KDDI SmartDrone speaking

<Comments from Keisuke Toji, CEO, Aeronext>
Shintotsukawa Town is a municipality that has been successful in utilizing agricultural drones. Now, the opening of a drone school here will strengthen the training of human resources, especially for the human resources needed for the launch of a logistics drone service. We also believe that by establishing this drone human resource supply base, we can work to improve the drone development for cold environments. This team will work hard together to ensure that this model is laterally deployed throughout Hokkaido.

Keisuke Toji, CEO, Aeronext speaking

<Comments from Naoya Mukado, CMO, ACSL>
We are very pleased to have this opportunity to be involved in the “town planning for drones” project. Shintotsukawa Town has been making advanced efforts to utilize drones in agriculture, and we expect that the opening of a drone school and the implementation of smart logistics services will further promote the use of drones in society. As a drone manufacturer, we are committed to working with this team to make drones widely available in cold environments such as Shintotsukawa Town.

Naoya Mukado, CMO, ACSL speaking

<Comments from Taira Kimura, President&CEO, Dentsu Hokkaido>
Hokkaido is a region filled with many possibilities. On the other hand, it is also a region with ongoing social issues such as declining population, falling birthrate, and aging population. In Hokkaido, we at Dentsu Hokkaido hope to be a “regional partner” that provides integrated solutions for the creation of sustainable communities by addressing increasingly challenging and complex social issues and collaborating with a wide range of companies. With the signing of this agreement, we hope to use this opportunity to revitalize the drone industry, develop drone-related human resources, and create local employment through a variety of collaborative projects, thereby firmly assisting Shintotsukawa Town’s “town planning for drones”.

Taira Kimura, President&CEO, Dentsu Hokkaido speaking

*1 KDDI SmartDrone Academy
The KDDI SmartDrone Academy, which opened in February 2023, is training drone personnel at more than 10 locations in Japan, including directly operated and affiliated schools.
In addition to the “Unmanned Aircraft Pilot Certification Course,” which is a national certification for drones, KDDI SmartDrone also offers “specialized area courses” that incorporate the latest know-how cultivated in each of the inspection, surveillance, and logistics solutions that KDDI SmartDrone offers.
With the decline in the working-age population being widely discussed these days, the promotion of productivity improvement and automation in society as a whole is an pressing issue.
Against this backdrop, the KDDI SmartDrone Academy will contribute to the development and production of human resources who will be responsible for the societal implementation of drones.

*2 New Smart Logistics
A public-private initiative to find solutions to the issues commonly faced by the logistics industry, such as labor shortages, environmental and energy issues, and DX areas, while utilizing digital and technology to ensure the future sustainability of logistics, which is an indispensable infrastructure for people’s daily lives. The project aims to realize the last mile joint delivery, the best mix of land and air transportation, freight and passenger consolidation, automated technology, etc., through co-creation based on an open public platform (O.P.P.) that transcends the boundaries between the industry and the outside world.

*Other company names and product/service names mentioned in this press release are registered trademarks or trademarks of their respective owners.