Drone Deliveries To Start To Japanese Islet

Drone deliveries to start to Japanese islet

Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten and supermarket chain Seiyu are starting a drone delivery service for summer visitors to an island off Yokosuka, near Tokyo.

The two companies on Monday held a ceremony to launch the service which begins operating next month on Sarushima.

Although uninhabited, the island is a popular spot for swimming and barbecues and is visited by 200,000 people a year.

Customers place orders and make payments on a smartphone app. They can choose from about 400 products.

Drones will deliver the goods from a Seiyu store 1.5 kilometers away on the mainland in about 5 minutes.

The delivery charge will be around 4 dollars and 60 cents. The drone can carry up to 5 kilograms of goods on a single trip.

The service will operate three days a week through September.

Rakuten Managing Executive Officer Koji Ando said that based on this summer's program, the companies want to expand the service across Japan in the future, including for people who find it difficult to do their own shopping.