THE DRONES ARE COMING: Japanese online retailer Rakuten said Monday that it would begin offering a service through which it will make deliveries to customers via drones. Dubbed “Sora Raku” after the Japanese word for “sky,” the service will begin May 9, with its initial application limited to a golf course outside of Tokyo.
Players at the golf course will be able to use a dedicated Android app to order things such as small golf equipment, snacks and drinks, choosing from a total of about 100 products on offer. Staff at a dedicated depot will pack the order into a box that attaches to the base of the drone. The drone then will fly autonomously to a designated pickup point, release the load and automatically return to the depot.
The service will initially be offered for a one-month trial period, after which point Rakuten will consider whether to continue and possibly expand it to other golf courses, based on analysis and customer feedback.