Last month, we proudly welcomed Japanese e-commerce leader Rakuten to the AirMap family as one of the participants in our Series B funding round. Today, we are excited to announce the next step in our partnership with Rakuten: a new joint venture, Rakuten AirMap, Inc., that will bring solutions for Unmanned Traffic Management (UTM), the regulatory and technological framework that will facilitate data exchange and air traffic control for drones, to Japan.

Rakuten is leading the way in efforts to realize drone delivery in Japan, officially launching the company’s Sora Raku drone delivery service in April of 2016. Since then, Rakuten has flown several ground-breaking test flights, including a successful LTE delivery flight to the mayor of Chiba City, Toshihito Kumagai, from 40km away!

Rakuten has developed a deep understanding of the commercial drone market and regulatory environment in Japan, making them the perfect partner to help AirMap bring UTM solutions to the country. Together, we’ll leverage our knowledge, experience, and technology to connect drone operators with Japanese airspace authorities and facilitate the exchange of safety-critical information in low-altitude airspace – an initiative that we hope will help Japan’s entire drone ecosystem thrive.

With Rakuten AirMap’s UTM platform, airspace managers (such as airports) will be able to view drone flight notices in real time, automate authorization for drone flights, and communicate directly with drone operators via SMS or phone. Drone operators will also benefit from AirMap’s airspace intelligence, learning about the rules in their flight area, create flight plans, and share them with nearby authorities.

You can learn more about Rakuten AirMap by visiting

We’re thrilled to embark on this new journey with Rakuten. Together, Rakuten AirMap, Inc. will help to open Japan’s low-altitude airspace for drones – and build a safe future for the country’s growing commercial drone industry.