On May 9, Japanese online retailer Rakuten announced the nation’s first drone delivery service at Tokyo’s Camel Golf Resort. Called Tenku, the autonomous aerial vehicle, which has the capacity to carry up to 2kg can be summoned by golfers to bring snacks, drinks, and even equipment like balls, while enjoying a round of golf.
The customer begins by placing the desired order on a special Android app. Once the items have been verified, the cost is deducted from the client's credit card via a Rakuten online account. Golf club employees then load the goods onto the drone and dispatch it to one of the several designated pick-up zones located throughout the golf course. Customers, who are notified of the time of arrival through the app, simply stroll over, pick up their goods and resume their golf game with minimal interruption. Tenku, meanwhile, heads back to the base, to fulfill the orders of other hungry and parched clients!
Rakuten officials say they picked the golf course for the month-long pilot because of the country’s regulations that prohibit drones from flying over busy urban areas. Unfortunately, while Tenku’s services may be extended beyond the trial period, Rakuten has no plans to introduce the drone delivery service to other locations. Instead, the company hopes to use the aerial vehicles for humanitarian and disaster relief missions.
Resources: Japantimes.com, techchrunch.com, cio.com