Skydio and KDDI enter into capital and business alliance

Skydio and KDDI enter into capital and business alliance

Skydio, Inc. (Headquarters: California, USA, CEO: Adam Bry, hereinafter referred to as Skydio) and KDDI Corporation (Headquarters: Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, President and CEO: Makoto Takahashi, hereinafter referred to as KDDI) announced on May 7, 2024. In Japan, we concluded a capital and business alliance (hereinafter referred to as the Alliance). As a global leader in autonomous control technology for drones, Skydio uses Visual Slam technology ( Note 1), which enables real-time spatial understanding using AI image processing , to provide drones that fly safely autonomously while automatically avoiding obstacles.

In Japan, it is being widely used for inspections of infrastructure facilities such as bridges and steel towers, as well as indoor and outdoor patrols. The latest model, the Skydio

This partnership will utilize KDDI’s latest communication technology including 5G, KDDI Smart Drone Co., Ltd.’s (Headquarters: Minato-ku, Tokyo, President and CEO: Masafumi Hirono, hereinafter referred to as “KDDI Smart Drone”) drone operation management technology, Skydio Combines drones with autonomous flight performance. This makes it possible to streamline inspection and monitoring operations and quickly collect information in the event of a disaster.

By proposing these ideas to various local governments and companies, we will work to use drones to solve social issues such as labor shortages, aging infrastructure, and increasingly severe disasters. Additionally, KDDI will acquire exclusive sales rights for Skydio products in 11 countries in the Asia-Pacific region (APAC) . As Skydio’s primary partner, KDDI will leverage the KDDI Group’s global sales channels and work with Skydio to expand the drone business globally.

■Background

In Japan, social issues include a labor shortage due to a decline in the working-age population, aging infrastructure, regional depopulation and aging, and the 2024 problem in the construction industry.
In particular, Japan’s social infrastructure, which was developed during the period of high economic growth, has a service life of more than 50 years, and various facilities are becoming increasingly obsolete. Periodic inspection and monitoring of social infrastructure is necessary to realize a safe social life, but maintenance is at risk due to labor shortages, etc., and social issues can be solved by improving the efficiency of inspection and monitoring operations using drones.

It is hoped that this will lead to. In addition, in recent years, large-scale disasters such as earthquakes and typhoons have caused severe damage, such as roads being cut off. In the event of a disaster, it is difficult to arrange work vehicles and equipment to check the damage situation, so drones are expected to be used to quickly check the damage situation and rescue victims.

Under the business strategy “New Satellite Growth Strategy,” KDDI is working to expand its business in focus areas, with a focus on core businesses that promote data-driven practices and social implementation of generative AI based on 5G communications. The drone business, which is included in “Orbit2 (mobility),” which is one of the business areas aiming for growth, focuses on KDDI smart drones and provides communication and operation management to realize advanced drone utilization such as remote autonomous flight. We are developing systems, data analysis systems, etc.
Skydio and KDDI have entered into this partnership in order to globally accelerate efforts to solve social issues through the social implementation of drone utilization, including remote autonomous flight.

■Purpose and details of the partnership

Skydio and KDDI will work on the following initiatives to realize the social implementation of drone utilization.

  • (1)Building and deploying solutions that combine Skydio’s drone technology with KDDI Group’s communications and data analysis technology.
  • (2)Global expansion of Skydio’s products to the Asia-Pacific region (APAC) ( Note 2 ) and other regions by utilizing the KDDI Group’s global sales channels . (Limited to sales to private companies, etc.)

■Skydio, Inc. Overview

  • (1) Trade name:Skydio, Inc.
  • (2) Business details:Development and sales of autonomous flying drones
  • (3) Year of establishment:2014
  • (4) Head office location: San Mateo, California, USA
  • (5) Representative:CEO Adam Bry
  • (6) Website: https://www.skydio.com/

■KDDI Corporation Overview

  • (1) Trade name:KDDI Corporation
  • (2) Business details:Telecommunications business
  • (3) Date of establishment: June 1984
  • (4) Head office location:2-3-2 Nishi-Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo
  • (5) Representative: Makoto Takahashi, Representative Director, President and CEO
  • (6) Website: https://www.kddi.com/

■Overview of KDDI Smart Drone Co., Ltd.

  • (1) Trade name:KDDI Smart Drone Co., Ltd.
  • (2) Business details:Drone business
  • (3) Date of establishment: January 27, 2022
  • (4) Head office location: Toranomon 1-chome MG Building 6F, 1-16-16 Toranomon, Minato-ku, Tokyo
  • (5) Representative: Masafumi Hirono, Representative Director and President
  • (6) Website: https://kddi.smartdrone.co.jp/
  1. Note 1)This technology uses cameras and image sensors to simultaneously estimate its own position and grasp the surrounding space, enabling drones to fly autonomously without relying on instructions from the pilot.
  2. Note 2)11 countries: South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, Mongolia, Thailand, Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Bangladesh, and Cambodia.
  • *The information contained in this article is current as of the date of publication.
    Please note that information such as product and service prices, service content and specifications, and contact information may change without notice.

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