Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd. (hereinafter, Yamaha Motor) and enRoute Co., Ltd. (hereinafter enRoute) have recently started discussions for a business alliance in the industrial drone business.
Both companies aim to conclude a business agreement in August, and utilize each of their products and business know-how for 1) Global expansion of the industrial drone business including spraying pesticides etc. 2) A collaboration for the development of new markets using drones in areas such as precision agriculture *, various infrastructure inspection applications, surveillance work, environmental measures, disaster response operations, transportation, and fishing industry work.
* Precision agriculture is a farming method that carefully observes and controls the condition of agricultural crops and land, as well as assisting in improving the yield and quality of crops.
Yamaha Motor released an unmanned helicopter for spraying agricultural chemicals in 1989. Currently, Japan domestic share of spraying areas covers 42.5% of staple food rice paddy rice fields (2016 Results, Yamaha Motor data). The Company is actively expanding use in agricultural applications globally, including Korea, the United States, Australia, New Zealand, and Thailand. Outside of agricultural applications, there are also industrial unmanned helicopters for multi-solutions capable of long-range automatic navigation providing advanced services to government agencies and general enterprises, etc. in a wide range of industrial fields such as vegetation surveillance and measurement work, disaster prevention, and disaster support. In 2018, Yamaha Motor plans to launch a multi-rotor spraying drone that makes full use of the aerodynamics, control technology, and safety know-how it has cultivated to date.
enRoute has been developing and selling industrial multi-rotor drones ahead of other companies. In multi-rotor type drones used for agricultural field work, the Company has received compliance with performance confirmation standards by Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Aeronautic Association for the first time in Japan, and has sold a total of 500 units (as of the end of March 2017). The Company has also developed and delivered a professional drone product for public agencies and private companies in a wide range of industrial fields such as investigating the initial situation of disaster sites, labour saving, and high efficiency of infrastructure inspections and surveying, and for work in distribution experiments.