Keio Univ. to set up drone-testing base in Fukushima's Tamura city

14 December 2016

Keio University will set up a base in Tamura city, Fukushima Prefecture, to run experiments featuring unmanned aerial drones. The private university concluded a partnership agreement with the city on Dec. 21., Keio's first such deal with a municipality related to the development of drones. The university will train students capable of using drones at Funehiki High School in the city. With a declining birth rate and graying population in regional areas, the project aims to develop drone technology to improve living environment and help people deal with other rural problems.

Participating in the project on the Keio side will be the Faculty of Policy Management, Faculty of Environment and Information Studies, Graduate School of Media and Governance, and Keio Research Institute at Shonan-Fujisawa Campus. As soon as next spring, the university plans to designate an area in the city as a model district for demonstrating experiments such as home delivery for elderly and land surveys in hopes that it will encourage private sector involvement.

It will also test practical applications of leading-edge technologies such as communication robots and self-driving technology now being developed at the institute.

At the high school, Keio professors will give special lessons once a month to allow students to learn expertise in drone-operating techniques, appropriate use of drones and other subjects. The school intends to consider launching extracurricular activities in the future aimed at creating a sufficient environment for drone education. Other plans at the school include lectures on drones for citizens.

(Translated by Kyodo News)