Drone delivery trials are underway around the world, with everything from pizzas to urgent medical supplies being considered as potential cargo. Now golf balls can be added to the list. Japanese online shopping giant Rakuten is teeing off its drone delivery service next month, which will drop off balls and snacks to golfers during their rounds.
Dubbed Sora Raku, Rakuten will begin a month-long trial of its drone delivery service at the Camel Golf Resort in the Chiba Prefecture on May 9. Golfers who have played a few too many errant shots can call on the company's Tenku drones to bring them extra balls, along with other equipment, snacks and drinks.
Golfers can place their orders through a dedicated Android app. These are relayed to a depot where workers load up a box with the necessary items and slot it into a compartment below the drone. The aircraft will then fly autonomously to designated drop-off points, automatically releasing the box for users to retrieve, before returning to the depot.
If the trial is successful, Rakuten hopes to expand the Sora Raku service beyond the links. Potential applications include deliveries in sparsely populated areas and mountain regions, along with disaster zones.
You can see a demo of the drone delivery service in the video below.