Rakuten is a major Japanese e-retailer and it aims to be a leader in the realm of innovative drone deliveries. It embarked on a one-month experiment to deliver drinks and snacks to golfers in Chiba, Southeast of Tokyo.
Beer was the most popular order and a drone can deliver four cans at a time. At this point, drones are loaded by hand, but the flight and landing are automated. They can land virtually anywhere with a flat surface. Rakuten's drone team is working to develop quieter drones for use in residential areas and hopes to have widespread deliveries up and running by 2020. Hideaki Mukai, the drone project head, says increased implementation of delivery drones will change e-commerce "dramatically."
Rakuten has been in business for two decades and has the highest rating on Forbes' "Most Innovative Companies" list in Japan.