Initially the service will be available only at select golf clubs and for only refreshments and golf balls.
Like Amazon, Rakuten is also experimenting with drone delivery systems. However, unlike its competitor, the e-commerce giant is taking baby steps: its drone delivery service will, to begin with, deliver only small products to golfers, in Japan.
From the May 1 onwards, golfers at a few selected clubs in Japan’s Chiba prefecture will be able to order refreshments and golf balls from their phone and the same will be delivered to them vide a mini Surveyor drone.
The mini Surveyor drone has been developed by Autonomous Control Systems Laboratory, a company that is based in Chiba and in which Rakuten has recently invested in. The drone will fly the goods from a base station located close to the golf course’s clubhouse.
If this drone delivery system works out, as per NHK, Rakuten will then assess whether the technology can be made available to other golf clubs as well. Its ultimate destination, like Amazon’s proposed Prime Air Service, will be customer’s home.
Their strategy looks like a sensible test bed, although Japan’s cramped living quarters could make the drone’s approach strategy particularly challenging.