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'Drone City' May Be Built in Tokyo Before 2020, in Time for the Olympics

Dec 19, 2016 05:22 AM EST

Think of 2020, with the Olympic Games being held in Tokyo. There will be drone deliveries, driverless taxis, and home robots will be a normal sight in one part of Japan. A Drone City may be functioning with at least 200 flying robots across a 10KM radius. 

Visitors can see drones in the skies of the Chiba prefecture, just an hour away from Tokyo.

This is, at least, what Kenzo Nonami of Chiba University is thinking. The leading drone expert is looking forward to living in such an apartment in the Drone City, due for completion in just three years! 

According to the Statesman, Nonami has been helping develop drone technology for the past 20 years. He believes these drones can deliver goods from warehouses in Tokyo Bay to apartments that have landing ports for drop-offs.

Nonami first researched drones for mine detection, which needs a hovering device. Now Nonami and his team have developed drones that can do simultaneous 3D mapping of their surroundings.

According to Kopitiambot, this allows drones to travel in enclosed spaces, something of great help in 2011 for inspected damaged nuclear power plants after the tragic Tohoku earthquake and tsunami. 

The drone network can help reduce the traffic of some of the 100 trucks that use the highway every day by 30 to 40 percent. According to the Straits Times, the Drone City is the joint idea proposed to the Japanese government by Chiba City and Chiba University.

Nonami said he hoped people would go to Tokyo to both see the Olympics and the Drone City. To meet the demand for professional drone drivers, a private school in Tokyo is even launching a three-year drone and robotics course in April 2017.

It can be remembered that Japan is famous for stressing on the potential of robots, starting in 1960s with Astro Boy and his arrival in Japan's anime subculture. Now robots are playing a more practical role in the lives of humans.Japan remains as one of the world's top suppliers of industrial robots and is now a trendsetter in the drone industry as well.

The continuous development of the drone industry in Japan can be seen in a few businesses in the country. For instance, Robot Taxi wants to launch driverless taxi services in 2020 for people who can't drive due to age or disability or other reasons.

Meanwhile, the Henn-na Hotel is the world's first hotel to be fully staffed by robots and has been functional since 2015.

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