Japan Airlines (JAL) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with California-based drone maker Matternet to explore medical delivery services, as well as to further develop a drone delivery business in Japan, reports a company press release.
The partnership will see Matternet’s M2 drone system deployed for trials located in Tokyo, before assessing opportunities for a healthcare delivery business model.
A JAL spokesperson said, “Due to the impact of the global pandemic and the lack of delivery, the necessity to respond to changes in the logistics industry has become more urgent and the deployment of drones may help realise automatic, contactless delivery services on remote islands, mountainous areas and even within the city.”
This is the Tokyo-based carrier’s latest sortie into drone technology. Earlier this month, JAL joined a consortium of four other Japanese companies to study the feasibility of drone deliveries in the medical, food and security sectors. And back in January, JAL signed a co-operation agreement with the Japanese city of Yabu to test UAV flights to transport medical supplies.
This latest partnership also marks Matternet’s expansion into Asian operations. The drone maker has been developing on-demand, autonomous systems for transporting medical items across healthcare networks.
Andreas Raptopoulos, CEO of Matternet commented, “Our drone delivery platform enables extremely fast and consistent transport of urgent items. We believe this will revolutionise how healthcare and e-commerce are delivered in cities around the world.”
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