A new joint venture has been launched between Santa Monica, Calif.-based AirMap, which provides an airspace management platform for drones, and Rakuten Inc., a Tokyo-headquartered Internet services company.
The joint venture will provide unmanned traffic management (UTM) solutions to drone operators and airspace managers in Japan, as well as support the development of the country’s commercial drone industry.
The partnership follows Rakuten’s participation in AirMap’s recent Series B investment round in February. Rakuten entered the commercial drone field with the launch of its Sora Raku Rakuten drone delivery service in April of last year.
The Rakuten AirMap UTM platform will provide situational awareness for airspace managers (such as airports and municipal governments) and allow drone operators to fly safely and stay informed during their flights. Through the platform, airspace managers can view drone flight notices in real time within their jurisdiction, automate authorization for drone flights and communicate directly with drone operators. The platform also allows drone operators to understand the rules in their flight area, create flight plans, and share them with nearby airports and authorities.
“Rakuten AirMap’s UTM solutions will connect airspace managers with drones and their operators – setting the stage for Japan’s commercial drone ecosystem to thrive,” says Ben Marcus, CEO of AirMap.