Japanese partners set to road test delivery robots
Yamato Transport and Rakuten are reported to be among the companies set to work with the Japanese government to test unmanned delivery robots on public roads.
According to a report published on the Nikkei Asian Review, the Japanese government is setting up a council drawn from both the public and private sectors to review operational and legal issues surrounding the use of robots. They will also consider how current road traffic laws may need to be amended.
The robots will be equipped with cameras and GPS to deliver goods without human intervention. Tests are scheduled to finish by March 2020.
Council members will reportedly include officials from Mitsubishi Estate, Japan Post, Panasonic and ZMP, a Tokyo self-driving technology company.
As previously reported by Post&Parcel, Japan’s courier and express delivery companies have been struggling to recruit personnel to keep up with the surge in delivery demand created by the e-commerce boom and robots have been touted as one possible answer to the problem.
Along with the automated delivery robots, Japanese e-commerce players – including Rakuten – have also been exploring the possibilities offered by drone deliveries. On Monday (17 June), Rakuten announced plans to provide a drone delivery service to deliver products from the Seiyu LIVIN Yokosuka Store in Yokosuka City, Kanagawa Prefecture, to visitors to Sarushima, an island in Tokyo Bay and popular tourist spot. The service will launch on 4 July and run for around three months*1. It is the first commercial drone delivery service to a remote island designed for general users in Japan.