Japan's Largest Scale, Successful Operation and Management of Drones Flying Simultaneously in 13 Regions Nationwide
-Aiming at Level 4, realizing a society where unmanned aircrafts can fly safely
in manned zones outside of visual range-
New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (Kawasaki City, Kanagawa; President: Hiroaki Ishizuka; hereinafter "NEDO"), KDDI CORPORATION (Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo; President: Makoto Takahashi; hereinafter "KDDI"), and Persol Process & Technology Co., Ltd. (President: Koichi Yokomichi; Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo; hereinafter "Persol P&T") have agreed to conduct a demonstration experiment (hereinafter "Experiment") to manage flight operations in the "Drones and Robots for Ecologically Sustainable Societies project / Demonstration project of traffic management system considering regional characteristics and expandability*1" (hereinafter "Project"). The demonstration experiment (hereinafter "Demonstration") was successfully conducted on October 27, 2021, in which a total of 52 unmanned aircrafts were flown simultaneously in 13 regions across Japan, the largest scale in Japan.
In this demonstration, we developed a unmanned aircraft system (UAS) traffic management (UTM) system that controls and safely flies multiple unmanned aircrafts, and verified its effectiveness in anticipation of the "unassisted unmanned overflight in manned zones" (Level 4) system that is scheduled to be established in FY2022. As a result, we confirmed that the UTM can be operated nationwide in terms of both function and operation, and that it can perform traffic management tasks such as collision avoidance in the sky where multiple unmanned aircrafts are flying around. We also examined the various needs of each region and how to utilize unmanned aircrafts.
Based on the results obtained this time, the three parties plan to create guidelines for the social implementation of the UTM and the establishment of a sustainable business model by January 2022. Through these efforts, the three parties will promote the creation of rules for the development of the industry and the resolution of issues, with the aim of realizing a society in which unmanned aircrafts can safely fly around in a Level 4 environment.
1. Background of this demonstration
Unmanned aircraft issues from a variety of perspectives, including safety assurance, utilization promotion, and technological development, are being discussed in collaboration between the public and private sectors. In this context, the Government of Japan established the "Public-Private Sector Council for the Improvement of the Environment for Small Unmanned Aircraft" and formulated the "Roadmap 2020 for the Industrial Revolution in the Sky*2" in July 2020, setting a policy to achieve Level 4 by FY2022. In particular, the Company worked to improve the environment and develop technologies necessary to operate unmanned aircrafts in Level 4 environments. In particular, in the security and infrastructure inspection fields, as well as in the logistics field where energy efficiency is required, the use of unmanned aircrafts in a Level 4 environment is expected to reduce operational burdens and realize energy savings.
Against this backdrop, NEDO has been promoting “Drones and Robots for Ecologically Sustainable Societies project” since FY2017, and in December 2020, it adopted a proposal from KDDI and Persol P&T for R&D to demonstrate the previously developed flight control function in a real environment. In March 2021, we conducted a preliminary demonstration in which the flight status of a total of nine unmanned aircrafts was collected by the UTM in three regions: western Japan (Hyogo Pref), eastern Japan (Miyagi Pref), and a disaster scenario (Mie Pref). In the current fiscal year, the project has been carried out in 10 additional regions selected through public solicitation.
2. About this demonstration
(1) Outline of implementation
In this verification experiment, multiple unmanned aircrafts were controlled by a UTM developed with Level 4 in mind, and verification was conducted to ensure safe flight. On the day of the demonstration, a total of 52 unmanned aircrafts were flown over 13 regions, and the unmanned aircraft traffic management office set up in KDDI's Toranomon office in Tokyo managed the flights. As a result, we confirmed that the UTM can be operated nationwide from both a functional and operational standpoint, and that it is capable of performing management tasks such as collision avoidance in the sky where multiple unmanned aircrafts are flying. In addition, we verified the various needs of each region and how to utilize unmanned aircrafts.
(2) Date of implementation
Wednesday, October 27th, 2021
(3) Demonstration areas and project management organizations and use cases
Unmanned aircrafts were flown in each region assuming specific use cases such as monitoring, inspection, and logistics. Please refer to the below table for details of the demonstration area, project management organization, and use cases.
<Demonstration areas, business management organizations and use cases>
|Demonstration area||Business management organization||use case|
|Wakkanai, Hokkaido||BIRD INITIATIVE, Inc.||・ Medicine delivery|
・ Marine animal surveillance
・ Poaching monitor
|Sendai, Miyagi||Sagawa Express Co.,Ltd.|
SOHGO SECURITY SERVICES Co.,Ltd. (ALSOK)
EAMS ROBOTICS Co., Ltd.
|・ Distribution of goods in hilly and mountainous areas|
・ Bridge inspection
・ Harmful Wildlife Security
・ Event facility security
|Minamisoma, Fukushima||Minamisoma City, Fukushima Pref||・ Gathering information during a disaster|
・ Audio-based evacuation guidance in the event of a disaster
・ Transportation of emergency relief supplies to isolated villages, etc.
|Hakusan, Ishikawa||NTT Docomo, Inc.||・ Wildlife Damage Survey (Monitor bears with infrared/visible light cameras)|
・ Transport of goods
・ Aerial photography
|Minokamo, Gifu||Nagoya Railroad Co.,Ltd.||・ Initial disaster investigation|
・ Transporting aid supplies
|Fuji, Shizuoka||EC CENTER Co., Ltd.||・ Delivery of supplies, confirmation of the status of isolated villages and roads|
・ Bridge inspection
・ Confirmation of circumstances in areas where liquefaction is expected
|Shima, Mie||Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)|
Kokusai Kogyo Co., Ltd.
|・ Infrastructure inspections in case of disasters|
・ Assessing damage in the event of a disaster
・ Transport of goods in case of disaster
|Japan Airlines Co.,Ltd.|
Asahi Technology Co., Ltd.
|・ Medicine delivery in urban areas|
・ Wide-area facility security (patrol and intrusion security)
・ Inspection of chimneys and plant equipment
・ Sports aerial photography
|Shimanto, Kochi||A.L.I. Technologies Inc.||・ Disaster prevention and transportation of emergency supplies|
・ Regular shipping of daily necessities
・ Verify the effectiveness of digitization (in mountains)
・ Ascertaining the current status by aerial photography of mountainous villages (erosion-control dam)
|Goto, Nagasaki||Soraya Inc.||・ Food delivery to secondary islands|
・ Search for Maritime Accidents and Investigate of Islands
・ Marine garbage survey
・ Confirmation of agricultural land planting
|Tsushima, Nagasaki||ShinMaywa Industries, Ltd.||・ Aerial survey of drifting garbage|
・ Drifting garbage aerial photography survey
|Kitsuki, Oita||OEC Co., Ltd.||・ Observation of agricultural products, confirmation of intrusion of animals, and search for human life|
・ Delivery of local specialties (delivery of disaster relief supplies)
・ Inspection of Bridges (Damage Inspection of Dams)
・ On-site surveying (accident investigation)
・ Spraying of pesticides
|Misato, Miyazaki||CERES INC.||・ Inspection of seedlings, veterinary protection fences, landslides, etc. in reforestated land|
・ Measurement of Town Forests as Forest Resources Survey
・ Delivery of medical products and foodstuffs to hilly and mountainous areas
・ Spraying of pesticides
(In order of Prefecture name, companies in no particular order)
※Hakusan and Tsushima conducted demonstrations in early November.
(4) Role of each company
|KDDI||- Overall project management|
- R&D of flight control function
- Asset and technical support to each consortium for UTM, aircraft, communications, etc.
- Advance demonstration operation of use cases in western Japan (Hyogo Pref)
- Advance demonstration operation of use cases in the event of a disaster (Mie Pref)
|Persol P&T||- Promotion of regional demonstrations and management of the secretariat|
- Safety management of regional demonstrations and management of verification implementation for use cases
- Promotion of cooperation between central management and each business management organization
- R&D of guidelines for the establishment of business models
- East Japan (Miyagi Pref) Preliminary demonstration operation of use cases
|NEDO||- Overall support for the project|
- Coordination with various ministries and agencies to coordinate with system design
3. Future plans
In line with the "Roadmap 2021 for the Industrial Revolution in the Sky" compiled by the Public-Private Sector Council, the three parties will identify issues that need to be resolved for the social implementation of the UTM that is indispensable for the realization of Level 4 unmanned aircrafts. In addition, we will work to concretize the traffic management requirements for establishing a sustainable business model and create guidelines for advancing these requirements (to be created in January 2022). By utilizing the guidelines created, we will promote the development of the industry and the creation of rules to resolve issues, aiming to realize a society in which unmanned aircrafts can safely fly around in a Level 4 environment.
*1 Drones and Robots for Ecologically Sustainable Societies project
Project type: Outsourcing
Implementation period: Five years from FY2017 to FY2021
Drones and Robots for Ecologically Sustainable Societies project
*2 Roadmap 2020 for the Industrial Revolution in the Sky
This is a roadmap formulated by the Public-Private Sector Council for the improvement of the environment related to small unmanned aircraft.
Roadmap 2020 for the Industrial Revolution in the Sky (only in Japanese)
(Inquiries about the contents of this news release)
NEDO Robot & AI Department: Mori, Nishimura TEL: 044-520-5244
(Common inquiries about NEDO business)
NEDO Public Relations Department: Sakamoto TEL: 044-520-5151 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org