Drone Startup Begins Deliveries Using Starlink

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Telecommunications company KDDI Corp., map maker Zenrin Co. and others launched a drone delivery service using U.S. aerospace company SpaceX’s Starlink satellite internet access service in the mountainous city of Chichibu, Saitama Prefecture, on Thursday.

By connecting a drone to the Starlink service, which provides a stable communication environment even in mountainous areas, the new delivery service allows residents in a Chichibu district affected by a road closure following a mudslide in September last year to receive food and other supplies on a regular basis.

According to KDDI, it is the first time that a regular drone delivery service using the Starlink service by SpaceX has been launched in Japan.

KDDI established in Chichibu a base station of its au mobile phone service that is compatible with the Starlink service.

Under the new service, food, medicines and other items ordered by the residents will be delivered once a week until the end of March.

The drone used in the service can carry goods weighing up to 5 kilograms in total, flying autonomously on a route of some 3 kilometers to the disaster-affected district.