JUIDA Newsletter

  • April 24, 2024

24th April, 2024

Support for the Noto Peninsula Earthquake   In the wake of the Noto Peninsula earthquake, many drone-related companies went to the disaster area to assist. In this context, the Japan UAS Industry Development Association (JUIDA) served as a liaison and coordinator for drone-based disaster relief activities in the area. JUIDA also coordinated the following two cases.  

Blue Innovation: Bridge inspection conducted after the Noto Peninsula Earthquake    
On March 8, 2024, Blue Innovation announced that, under the direction of Japan UAS Industrial Development Association (JUIDA), it had received a request from Wajima City, Ishikawa Prefecture, which suffered severe damage from the Noto Peninsula Earthquake. Blue Innovation carried out bridge inspections in Wajima City and in mountainous areas using its spherical drone “ELIOS 3.” Inspections were conducted on January 31st and February 20th. In January, inspections were conducted at five bridges in the Wajima city area, and in February at one location in the mountainous area. Inspections were conducted using drones to photograph and confirm areas that are difficult to visually confirm, ensuring the safety of inspectors while confirming the dangers of using the bridge and quickly collecting data necessary for drawing up restoration and repair plans. According to the company, it will be possible to quickly calculate repair costs using 3D models and improve structural safety by using highly accurate point cloud data.   Japanese page https://www.blue-i.co.jp/news/release/20240308.html      

Japan Airlines, KDDI SmartDrone: Joint support provided for damage survey after the Noto Peninsula Earthquake    
On March 8, 2024, Japan Airlines and KDDI SmartDrone, under the coordination of JUIDA, announced that they participated in support activities in Suzu City and Wajima City in Ishikawa Prefecture from January 19th to February 7th, 2024 and surveyed the damage situation using a drone. In Suzu City, DJI’s Mavic 2 Zoom was used to take photos of the planned construction site for temporary housing, and then create ortho images(*1). It also provided the city with a map that overlaid the tsunami inundation area. In Wajima City, Skydio’s “Skydio 2+” was used to carry out emergency bridge inspections as more than 400 bridges need inspection due to cracks in the roads caused by the earthquake. The company checked the damage to the back of the floorboards, supports, bridge piers, and abutment components. Japan Airlines and other companies claim that the use of drones has helped reduce the burden on site and prevent secondary disasters.
*1 An image data created by analyzing photogrammetric technology from continuous aerial photographs taken directly downwards so that 90-70% of the area covered by the photographs overlaps, and then accurately superimposed on an existing map, which is used to analyze the situation while overlaying various other information on the map. Since the image’s shape is correct and the position is correctly aligned, it is possible to accurately measure the position, area, and distance on the image in geographic information systems (GIS) and other applications.  
Japanese page https://press.jal.co.jp/ja/release/202403/007967.html      


Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism: Announcement of the concept of drone logistics using airspace above rivers  
On March 15, 2024, The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT)  announced the “Basic Concept for Facilitating the Utilization of Airspace Above Rivers in Drone Logistics” regarding drone logistics that utilizes airspace above rivers. Due to the shortage of personnel in the logistics field, the use of drones to deliver packages, etc. is attracting attention. Along these rivers, there are relatively few structures on the ground or obstacles in the sky, and as such, rivers are expected to be used for drone logistics. Considering this situation, in order to support the smooth navigation of drone logistics, MLIT published a basic concept (standard draft):  
Attachment 1 : https://www.mlit.go.jp/report/press/content/001730627.pdf  
Attachment 2 : https://www.mlit.go.jp/report/press/content/001730628.pdf  
Japanese page https://www.mlit.go.jp/report/press/content/001730626.pdf    
Obayashi Corporation: Successful demonstration experiment of construction progress management at construction site using completely unmanned patrol using drones  
On March 22, 2024, Obayashi Corporation and NTT Communications conducted a three-month demonstration experiment of construction progress management using completely unmanned patrols using drones, aiming to improve the efficiency of construction management at indoor construction sites. Through this demonstration, they reduced the time required to patrol and record indoor construction sites from the previous one hour to 10 minutes, and confirmed that automated patrols can be performed safely under conditions that change on a daily basis. In this demonstration, progress management was made more efficient by eliminating the need for a pilot by utilizing Skydio’s autonomous flying drone “Skydio2+” and a dedicated drone port system “Skydio Dock and Remote Ops.” The two companies aim to start full-scale operation at construction sites within 2024, and they are preparing a system to support implementation at construction sites.  
Japanese page https://www.obayashi.co.jp/news/detail/news20240322_2.html    
Hitachi: Developing “Digital Road,” a mobility control platform that supports daily life and recovery of disaster-stricken areas  
On March 18, 2024, Hitachi announced that it had developed “Digital Road”, a mobility control platform that realizes high safety and operational efficiency for transportation infrastructure. When operating mobility automatically and remotely, this technology grasps changes in the route environment such as weather and radio wave conditions in real time and manages them in digital space, predicting future changes in advance and ensuring safety. By calculating accurate travel routes, stable operations are possible. This will provide safer and more efficient automatic operation in daily life and recovery efforts in disaster-stricken areas. In the future, the company plans to use this technology for “air corridors” to improve the convenience of air mobility such as drones and highly safe takeoff and landing control systems, contributing to the promotion of safe operation and automation of transportation infrastructure.  
Japanese page https://www.hitachi.co.jp/New/cnews/month/2024/03/0318a.html    
HIEN Aero Technologies: Successful hovering test of unmanned eVTOL using gas turbine hybrid  
On March 4, 2024, eVTOL developer and manufacturer Hien Aero Technologies announced that it successfully conducted a hovering test for the airplane-type eVTOL “HIEN Dr-One V2B” in an outdoor environment at a local airport, which uses gas turbine power generation for approximately one minute, a first in Asia. Since 2023, the company has been conducting ground tests on gas turbine generators that achieve flight distances, flight times, and high operating rates that are impossible with electric vehicles. The company evaluated the success of this hovering test as “achieving a technological milestone.” The gas turbine generator “DRAGON”, which uses the technology used in this test, the hybrid system “Butterfly” that drives it, and the eVTOL “HIEN Dr-One” are scheduled to go on sale in 2025. The company aims to develop a six-seater manned eVTOL (air taxi), a “flying car”, by 2030.  
Japanese page https://hien-aero.com/news/    
Japan Airlines and Setouchi Town: Drone operating company “Amami Island Drone” launches services  
On February 29, 2024, Japan Airlines (JAL) and Setouchi Town, Oshima District, Kagoshima Prefecture announced that their jointly established company, “Amami Island Drone”, began providing services for residents using drones on the same day. The company was established on November 30, 2023, and the specific service content is based on the geographical factors of the town, which has secondary remote islands (Kakeroma Island, Ukejima Island, Yoroshima Island), characteristics of the necessary transported goods, and uses the large logistics drone “FAZER R G2”. Drones will also replace some of the regular deliveries of medicines and daily necessities to secondary remote islands that rely on ships for daily logistics. In addition to envisioning the use of drones to take aerial photographs of disaster situations and transport relief supplies in the event of a disaster, in the future, drones will be used to collect information related to disaster information and supply requests through smartphone apps, and to centralize logistics information for the delivery of daily necessities. The company plans to promote the integration of digital technology.  
Japanese page https://prtimes.jp/main/html/rd/p/000000973.000030684.html    
Casley Deep Innovations: Disaster relief training using Starlink satellite communications and micro-drones  
On March 21, 2024, Casley Deep Innovations announced that it conducted a rescue training from a collapsed house using Starlink satellite communications and micro-drones by coordinating multiple purpose-specific drones. The project was led by Gifu Prefecture’s Gifu Kita Police Station, and was carried out on the assumption that residents were stranded in apartment buildings that were at risk of collapsing in a dead zone where communication had been disrupted due to an earthquake. Within 5 minutes after arriving at the scene, the two rescuers established closed Starlink satellite communications (hyper secure network) and video communications and headquarters coordination using the on-site video transmission system “DiCaster Police” (hyper secure storage). After that, ACSL’s “SOTEN” drone was used to perform diagnosis and search for people in need of rescue from outside, and micro drone “SDK” was used to search for people in need of rescue from indoors.  
Japanese page https://prtimes.jp/main/html/rd/p/000000010.000125312.html    
KDDI SmartDrone, KDDI Research, Prodrone: Successful remote underwater inspection of bridge piers using water-air combination drones  
On March 26, 2024, KDDI SmartDrone, KDDI Research and Prodrone announced they conducted remote underwater inspections of bridge piers using mobile communications using a new model of their newly jointly developed water-air combination drone. This experiment was conducted at Chuo-Ohashi Bridge in Tokyo Bay as part of the Tokyo Bay eSG Project. The water-air combination drone developed by Prodrone is the world’s first drone that combines an aerial drone and an underwater drone. It allows customization such as underwater maintenance functions, and an improved acoustic positioning device that allows stable underwater positioning even in actual sea areas with shaking and currents. During the inspection, deformation in the upper part of the water was photographed using an aerial drone camera, and deformation in the underwater part and scouring at the base were photographed using the underwater drone. The degree of deterioration was determined from the images and it was confirmed that no major damage was observed.  
Japanese page https://www.kddi-research.jp/newsrelease/2024/032601.html    
Impress Research Institute: Drone business in 2023 will increase by 23.9% compared to the previous year, “Drone Business Research Report 2024” released  
Impress announced on March 14, 2024, that Impress Research Institute, the company’s think tank division, released the “Drone Business Research Report 2024,” which investigates trends in the domestic drone business market. According to the report, the domestic drone business market size in 2023 will be 385.4 billion yen, an increase of 23.9% from the previous year. It is estimated that it will expand to 468.4 billion yen in 2024, an increase of 21.5% from the previous year, and reach 905.4 billion yen in 2028. The largest market size in 2023 was the service market for inspections, civil engineering/architecture, (bridges and large-scale buildings, inspections in narrow spaces showing progress), agriculture, etc., which was 202.5 billion yen, an increase of 27.6% from the previous year. This field is expected to have the greatest growth in the drone business market by 2028.   
Japanese page https://research.impress.co.jp/topics/list/drone/685    
Amuse Oneself: Release of green laser system “TDOT 7 GREEN” that can be used on land or in shallow water  
On March 1, 2024, Amuse Oneself announced that it has developed and released “TDOT 7 GREEN,” a new green laser system mounted on a drone. While conventional systems target only water areas, this system can be used amphibiously. The irradiation rate is approximately three times that of the company’s existing products, and it is equipped with a high-resolution camera (12.4MP) as standard, making it possible to create high-density color point cloud data. Other strengths include a 120-degree viewing angle and the ability to transfer survey results to a server in a remote location in real time using the LTE communication function. According to the specifications, the size is 250mm wide, 310mm deep, 135mm high, and it weighs 3.5kg, which is extremely light allowing for stable flight for long periods of time.  
Japanese page https://prtimes.jp/main/html/rd/p/000000009.000112742.html

Credit to: JUIDA