It’s a bird! It’s a plane! No, it’s a Sora Raku delivery drone – and it’s bringing the groceries!

On Oct. 26, Sora Raku and Energia Communications conducted a test flight of a delivery drone in Imabari City. The trial was part of an ongoing project aimed at eventually realizing drone-based delivery of fresh produce and other foodstuffs to residents of the Shimanami islands in Japan’s Seto Inland Sea. The residents, many of whom are elderly, have become so-called “transportation refugees,” as their island homes tend to be by-passed in conventional transportation networks.

The area encompassing Imabari City, Ehime Prefecture, and also Hiroshima Prefecture is a designated National Strategic Special Zone, meaning it is eligible for deregulation designed to encourage the promotion of new technologies such as drones.