Aga Town, Niigata Prefecture (Mayor: Kazuaki Kanda, hereinafter Aga Town), Seino Holdings Co., Ltd. (Ogaki City, Gifu Prefecture, President: Yoshitaka Taguchi, hereinafter “Seino HD”), Aeronext Inc. (Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, CEO: Keisuke Toji, hereinafter “Aeronext”), and NEXT DELIVERY Inc. (Kosuge Village, Yamanashi Prefecture; Representative Director: Keisuke Toji; hereinafter “NEXT DELIVERY”) held an opening ceremony on Sunday, November 19, 2023, to mark the start of the new smart logistics SkyHub®*1 service in the town of Aga.
The services launched on November 19, 2023 are SkyHub® Delivery (shopping service) and SkyHub® Eats (food delivery service), and a pharmaceutical delivery service is scheduled to begin by the end of the year. Drone Depot®*2, which will serve as a delivery base and temporary warehouse for the new SkyHub® smart logistics system, will be located in the former Kamikawa Food Service Center, with the aim of starting joint delivery services in cooperation with other transportation companies.
The new smart logistics SkyHub® contributes to addressing regional issues by building a new logistics infrastructure that integrates drone delivery and land transportation and is being implemented nationwide by Seino HD and Aeronext. Aga Town is the 9th municipality in Japan to enter the societal implementation phase, joining Kosuge Village, Yamanashi Prefecture; Kamishihoro Town, Hokkaido; Tsuruga City, Fukui Prefecture; Sakai Town, Ibaraki Prefecture; Katsuura City, Chiba Prefecture; Hidakagawa Town, Wakayama Prefecture; Komatsu City, Ishikawa Prefecture; and Sanagochison, Tokushima Prefecture.
The deliveries for the services will be made by light vans and drones, with drone delivery primarily utilizing AirTruck*3, a dedicated logistics drone developed by Aeronext in collaboration with ACSL Ltd.
This project has been selected as a “New Smart Logistics Implementation Project Using Drones” under the FY2023 Digital Rural City National Concept Promotion Grant (Digital Implementation Type 1).
The following two services, including those already started, will be offered to enhance and expand the product lineup to meet the needs of residents.
1. Shopping service in collaboration with local stores: SkyHub® Delivery
SkyHub® Delivery is a shopping and delivery service in which products from local stores and supermarkets purchased with the SkyHub® application are delivered to individual homes at the desired date and time.
You can select from approximately 300 items of food and daily necessities from supermarkets in the town and select the desired time to deliver your order.
The fee is 500 yen (tax included) for delivery and a service charge (10% of the total product price). Initially, orders placed by noon will be delivered on the same day.
2. Food delivery service: SkyHub® Eats
Food from partner restaurants will be delivered by drone or car. The fee is expected to be 100 yen per item (tax included) for delivery.
About Drone Delivery
The drone delivery will use AirTruck*3, a dedicated logistics drone with a maximum payload of 5 kg and a maximum flight distance of 20 km, developed from scratch by Aeronext specifically for logistics applications. In an event open to the press on November 19, soba noodles were delivered by drone in a simulated food delivery operation. The process involved loading the boxes containing the items onto the drone and then flying a distance of approximately 3.5 km one way to the former Hinokawa Nursery School in approximately 8 minutes to deliver the items to the residents. Mr. Hasegawa, the mayor of Hara Ward, Aga Town, who received the drone-delivered soba noodles, said, “More than 70% of the residents in this area are elderly. In times of heavy snowfall or other disasters, roads are sometimes cut off. With this kind of service, residents can have with peace of mind. In normal times, we need shopping and packed lunches. The key point is that we can get packages immediately by drone. I feel we are entering a new era.”
The parties are aiming to have 20 drone delivery routes in the Kamikawa region and have already opened 11 routes. The parties are also aiming for regular Level 3 drone delivery flights (out-of-sight flights in unmanned areas) within the fiscal year.
The parties will continue to mutually cooperate and work together to contribute to the revitalization of the community in Aga Town by ensuring sustainable local logistics and promoting the development of new social infrastructure through the use of next-generation advanced technologies, including drones, in line with the issues and needs of the town.