A.L.I. Holds Demonstration for Drone Logistics System in Shimanto, Kochi Prefecture ~Sustainable Drone Logistics at Level 4~

In April 2014, A.L.I. Technologies Inc. (Main office: Tokyo, Minato-ku; CEO: Daisuke Katano; hereinafter A.L.I.) was commissioned by KDDI Corporation and Persol Process & Technology Co., Ltd, to conduct the Drones and Robots for Ecologically Sustainable Societies Project by NEDO*1, a national research and development organization. A.L.I. has announced the successful demonstration of various drone use cases that have high potential for application in the Shimanto region, including logistics, disaster relief, and surveying.


The township of Shimanto, located in Kochi Prefecture, has a large number of mountainous areas and an aging population that is increasingly giving up their driver’s licenses. There is a need to strengthen the infrastructure of daily life, including disaster countermeasures and a drone delivery system that can stably deliver goods to mountainous areas. In this demonstration project, the company examined various factors and issues that need to be addressed before drones can be implemented in society, such as safety, cost structure, operational flow, and local people’s acceptance of the continuous operation management system.


In addition, in order to establish an operational method of air infrastructure for verified UAVs, a new drone logistics system for the Level 4 (out-of-sight flight) was proposed to the local residents of Shimanto with the cooperation of a local company, Elepa Inc. and the Shimanto Public Interest Incorporated Foundation.


■Utilizing A.L.I.’s proprietary UAV control system

By utilizing the company’s proprietary drone control system, C.O.S.M.O.S.*2, with the Flight Information Management System (FIMS)*3, precise centralized management of airspace and individual flights becomes possible. Local governments can take the initiative in understanding the activities taking place in the skies and operate a safe, secure, and stable drone logistics system*4 in the community by setting up a drone delivery base at a community center or other such location for regular operations and setting up routes in case of emergency.


In this demonstration, the drone equipped with the COSMOS connection module is linked to FIMS to determine whether it can cover the verification requirements that the local government wants to implement, determine the possibility of stable functionality over areas with weak LTE signal, and to determine the feasibility of a sustainable drone logistic system in Shimanto.


■Drone demonstration of logistics use case

In this project, daily commodities were delivered to mountainous areas in which there are many residents who have voluntarily given up their driver’s licenses due to old age. Regular

deliveries were made from Life Shop Matsushita, a general goods store that serves the people in the area.

■Demonstration of drone use case in times of disaster

Highway 52 is the only road that connects the mountainous areas of Shimanto to Okitsu and Higashimata, and in the event of a large earthquake would be at risk of tsunami, which would isolate the Okitsu area. The Shimanto B&G Ocean Center, which serves as an evacuation site in case of emergency, was used as the starting point for transporting disaster relief supplies, and the drone transport of disaster relief supplies was carried out over the mountains to the Okitsu Heliport.


■Demonstration of drone surveying use case

A drone equipped with GPS and an SLR camera was used to survey a 5-hectare area of forest behind Shichisato Elementary School, located in the township of Shimanto. Utilizing drones for surveying made the county’s infrastructure inspection plan more effective, and proved the effectiveness of drone utilization in the use of data, cost reduction, and time saving to determine the current conditions necessary to protect the safety of residents from the risk of landslides.


■Demonstration of drone inspection use case

The Narukawa Bridge, which is a daily life road for the residents of the Taisho-Nakatsugawa community, is aging and is the subject of a large-scale repair design and is scheduled to be widened. In this demonstration experiment, a drone was used to conduct a preliminary aerial survey within a 100m radius of the Narukawa Bridge in the construction area.


■Demonstration results and future prospects

By utilizing C.O.S.M.O.S. and FIMS for this demonstration, real-time drone operations were successfully managed from three locations: the operations site, A.L.I. Technologies’ main office in Tokyo, and a temporarily constructed control center in Shimanto. It was also confirmed that centralized management of space and flight using C.O.S.M.O.S. would lead to assurance of drone flight safety and reduction of on-site operation costs.


Shimanto Town has also taken a town wide initiative, established the Shimanto Town Drone Promotion Council on February 6, 2019, and focusing on training pilots and building collaboration between industry, government, and academia ahead of other municipalities in Kochi Prefecture. Several Shimanto Town Hall employees and others are actively using drones in their daily work, such as assessing the condition of collapsed roads and conducting cadastral surveys.


The details of these multiple demonstrations will not be limited to testing, but will be implemented with the aim of actually putting them to practical use in the township of Shimanto in the future. A.L.I. will continue to contribute to the social implementation of drone application systems that meet the challenges and needs of local residents in cooperation and collaboration with the local community.


*1) New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization

*2) A.L.I. Technologies’ proprietary UAV control system. An air traffic management platform that enables UAV swarm control. This technology enables more reliable planning, monitoring, and management of the principles of automated UAV operations: the health of the aircraft, operational certainty, and the safety of the surrounding area and operators.

*3) Integrated operation management function developed by NEDO’s Drones and Robots for Ecologically Sustainable Societies Project.

*4) This demonstration uses a simulation model of the Sky Way Station concept promoted by the Sky Way Station Council, which is a means of drone delivery based on safety, security, and convenience.


Company Overview:

A.L.I. was established in 2016 with the vision to build a society in which drones and air mobility technologies are fully implemented and normalized. The XTurismo is the first manned air mobility vehicle offered by the company and is considered the backbone of future air mobility development. We want you to join us in this journey and help to build an air mobility society that has an emphasis on efficiency and safety.


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