In Japan, at a time when the falling birthrate and the aging population give rise to the major social challenge of a shrinking workforce, unmanned aircraft known as drones are garnering attention as key to solving this problem. Flying either by remote or automatic control, drones are expected to play active roles in various industrial fields as a way to improve operation efficiency and reduce manpower needs.
Due to legislative action, in FY2022 the ban on beyond-visual-line-of-sight flight over populated areas, i.e., Level 4 aerial autonomy, is scheduled to be lifted. In this article, Masashi Fujita, who is involved in Hitachi. Ltd.'s drone business, answers questions about how such drones are currently being used and how this will change going forward.