Toyota Tsusho and Zipline Launch Medical Deliveries in Japan
by DRONELIFE Staff Writer Ian M. Crosby
Today, Toyota Group member Toyota Tsusho Corporation and instant logistics leader Zipline initiated the launch of an automated, on-demand delivery service for the distribution of medical supplies across Japan’s Gotō Islands, with Toyota Tsusho utilizing Zipline’s instant logistics system for routine, commercial long-distance drone deliveries.
This is both Zipline’s first operation in Japan and its first strategic operational partnership, in which Sora-iina, a Toyota Tsusho subsidiary specifically created for the partnership, will handle its distribution center and flight services from Fukue Port.
Sora-iina’s distribution center will be the first in Asia to use Zipline’s autonomous instant logistics technology, delivering medical supplies to pharmacies and hospitals across the Gotō Islands. Initial deliveries will feature beyond visual line of site operations that span up to 40 kilometers per round trip, and allow for on-demand access to hundreds of medical products.
“The Toyota Group has a decades-long track record of excellence across transportation and logistics; now, they’re ready to take on the next frontier of mobility,” said Zipline co-founder and CEO Keller Rinaudo. “Together, we’re taking an important step toward unlocking the impact of autonomous instant logistics technology in new use cases, new airspaces and entirely new geographies.”
This new sustainable on-demand delivery service follows continued efforts by Japan to prioritize sustainability, with Zipline’s autonomous aircraft having been shown to produce 98% less carbon emissions than ground deliveries using cars or vans.
The launch comes as the result of a well-established partnership between Toyota Tsusho and Zipline, which commenced with Toyota Tsusho’s investment in Zipline in June 2018. The companies have previously collaborated to deliver medical supplies in Ghana. This current partnership has the potential to expand to additional areas and use cases going forward.
Read more about Zipline:
- Zipline in Kenya: Expanding Medical Drone Delivery Across Africa
- Zipline and Magellan Rx Partner for Drone Delivery of Prescription Meds to U.S. Homes
- Zipline Receives U.S. Secretary of State Award for Corporate Excellence in Health Security
- Zipline Delivers for Walmart: Drone Delivery Launches in Pea Ridge, Arkansas
- Zipline in Utah: Delivering Prescriptions and Medical Supplies to Patients in Salt Lake City
Ian attended Dominican University of California, where he received a BA in English in 2019. With a lifelong passion for writing and storytelling and a keen interest in technology, he is now contributing to DroneLife as a staff writer.
Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has penned over 3,000 articles focused on the commercial drone space and is an international speaker and recognized figure in the industry. Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.
For drone industry consulting or writing, Email Miriam.
Subscribe to DroneLife here.