Akihabara News (Tokyo) — All Nippon Airways (ANA) has formed an agreement with Germany-based drone firm Wingcopter to test strategies for connecting small island communities throughout Japan.
In the initial set of tests conducted between March 21-26, Wingcopter drones made a series of flights between Fukuejima and Hisakajima in Goto City, Nagasaki Prefecture.
The concept is that through the use of these drones medical supplies can be quickly delivered in cases of emergency need. This is meant to strengthen the healthcare infrastructure for remote and underserved communities.
“The ongoing tests of Wingcopter aircraft represent a significant step forward in the creation of a viable drone transportation network,” said Tetsuya Kubo, vice-president of ANA Holdings. “We are excited to partner with Wingcopter as we build on the advances and innovation of previous trials to bring drone delivery one step closer to reality. Once fully realized, a functioning drone transportation infrastructure will help improve quality of life in rural areas across Japan.”
Tom Plümmer, CEO of Wingcopter, added, “Being able to help a global company like ANA open up new business areas and at the same time pursue our mission to save and improve lives, is what we tirelessly work for. We are really looking forward to the next steps and the overall partnership with ANA in Japan and beyond.”
Wingcopter appears to have been selected as ANA’s partner because its fixed-wing drones are able to fly for longer distances and more rapidly than most other unmanned aircraft.
In 2019, ANA Holdings reached a similar agreement with the government of Zambia to conduct field tests with drones to improve the delivery of medical supplies in that African country.
Source: Akihabara News – Drones to Connect Small Island Communities