In an effort to woo hesitant former residents back to the region, hot food and household items can be delivered in certain regions impacted by the Fukushima nuclear disaster.
Internet company Rakuten has teamed up with the Japanese convenience store chain Lawson for the six-month pilot program — so residents are able to order hot food and common household items. The drone delivery service doesn’t cost extra.
Lawson has supported a mobile store since 2013, allowing people to place orders that are then relayed to a local Lawson store. Once a hot food order is received, a Lawson driver contacts a store to prepare and deliver the food. Each drone trip can support up to two kilograms (4.41 pounds) of supplies to residents.
Despite evacuation orders lifted last year in select zones around Fukushima, much of the local infrastructure remains significantly damaged. Fukushima’s Minamisoma City was evacuated in 2011, so residents face challenges receiving hot food and select staple items. The area is within the 12-mile radius of the doomed Fukushima Daiichi Power Station.
Here is what Minamisoma Mayor Katsunobo Sakurai said in a statement:
“This community has been in a weakened state, but starting with Odaka, we believe the drone and other technology can play a role in helping people who face challenges going shopping or receiving medical care. My hope is that experiments with drones, autonomous driving and other technologies can lend a big push toward reconstruction following the nuclear accident.”
Researchers are carefully following these types of projects, as drones may have a massive impact on timely disaster relief.
On the topic of drones in Fukushima, the poor electronic aircraft sent into reactors tend to make a one-way trip. The drones have trouble surviving more than two hours, but the small amount of data they provide are important to monitor radiation in highly contaminated areas.
Last Updated on November 9, 2017.