Beppu City's First Unmanned Delivery Demonstration with a Drone and Automated Delivery Robot, Conducted at APU


Dec 20, 2023

On November 24, 2023, a demonstration experiment of drone logistics was conducted on the APU campus. While similar experiments have been conducted in Oita Prefecture in the past, this attempt marked the first in urban areas and involved collaboration with automated delivery robots.

The experiment was conducted by three companies: Nobel Co., Ltd., which operates, educates, and develops services for drones in Hita City, Oita Prefecture; Oita Joint Newspaper Co., Ltd., headquartered in Oita City; and Suzak Co., Ltd., a drone consulting company based in Tokyo. In response to the challenge of a shortage of human resources for delivery due to the declining population in Oita Prefecture, this project aims to alleviate labor shortages by using drones to deliver goods to remote areas away from the city. Simultaneously, this project has been adopted as the "Unmanned Aircraft Last One-Mile Delivery Demonstration Project" by the Logistics Policy Division of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, and is being pursued as a national demonstration project.

In the demonstration experiment, the original plan was for a drone carrying newspapers as cargo to take off from the urban area of Beppu, autonomously navigate through mountainous areas in an out-of-sight flight, and arrive at the drone port installed at APU. On the actual day, due to strong winds, the flight through the mountainous areas was canceled. As a result, the drone carrying newspapers took off within the campus and demonstrated unloading cargo at the drone port. The delivery robot, which automatically received the cargo at the drone port, autonomously navigated through the campus and successfully delivered the cargo to the designated location, where the recipient was waiting.

This project also holds potential for transporting supplies to isolated areas in times of disasters. For APU, located in a mountainous area, the experiment contributes to demonstrating the transportation of goods to campus in the event of road disruptions. APU will continue to actively engage with the local community to address various social challenges in the future.

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