Rakuten Announces Full-Scale Launch of “Rakuten Drone Gateway,” a New Platform Supporting Drone Flights and Pilot Recruitment

New platform matches drone operators with businesses and individuals utilizing drones, provides access to flight maps and weather information

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Rakuten Group, Inc. today announced the full-scale launch of Rakuten Drone Gateway, a new platform that assists businesses and individuals who use drones by supporting drone flight operations and job matching for drone operators.

The web-based platform aims to serve as a gateway for all those working with drones, and offers job matching services as well as flight support for drone operators.

The job matching service*1 allows companies and individuals who utilize drones to post job openings tailored to specific requirements including aerial photography, aerial surveys and inspections, as well as search for and hire drone operators that meet their needs*2. After completing the employer screening process, drone operator-seeking businesses and individuals can create job posts that include an overview of the job, payment and other details*3. Meanwhile, drone operators seeking work can register their profile data after submitting their personal identification, skill certifications and other required documents. This allows them to easily browse and apply for open drone operation jobs*4. Rakuten will make payments to drone operators after the job commissioned by the company or individual is complete*5.

In addition to the job matching service, Rakuten Drone Gateway offers drone flight support. This provides flight maps necessary for flying drones, such as the locations of flight-prohibited zones, topographical information and maps of planned flight paths, and aerial photographs. Meteorological information including weather forecasts and precipitation radar are also provided. By offering this data to users all in one service, the platform aims to streamline drone operations for pilots*6.

The use of drones has been increasing across many sectors in recent years. The Japanese government has made moves to pave the way for a regulatory system for drone flights, including the launch of a registry for drones and their owners in June 2022 and the decision to start a national licensing system for drone operators in December 2022*7. To date, Rakuten has laid the groundwork for supporting the next generation of drone operators through Rakuten Drone Academy Minakami*8 and DBS Tokyo Academy*9, which is operated by SKY ESTATE, Inc.*10, a Rakuten Group company. Rakuten also provides several services that utilize drones across a variety of fields. These include conducting inspections of Rakuten Mobile base stations, surveying exterior damage to apartment and office buildings, and surveying damage incurred in elevated locations such as the roofs of buildings*11.

Rakuten will continue to contribute to the further expansion of the drone market in the future through the delivery of drone-related services and training and support for drone operators.

*1 For the job matching service, Rakuten, the service operator, receives the job order from companies and individuals requesting the job. Rakuten then subcontracts the work to drone operators through the service.
*2 Learn more about posting job advertisements for drone operators: https://gateway.drone.rakuten.co.jp/lp/client (*Japanese page)
*3 Rakuten, the service operator, will confirm the necessary documents for the employer screening process directly with the company or individual requesting the job.
*4 When registering profile data, users must log in with their Rakuten ID, register available regions and fields of expertise, and submit qualifications and certificates. When applying for a job, users will receive a notification via their registered email address and will be notified later whether their application has been accepted, allowing them to contact the company or individual offering the job. See here for further details for drone operators. https://gateway.drone.rakuten.co.jp/lp/pilot (*Japanese page)
*5 Rakuten, the operator and trustee of the service, will first receive payment from the company or individual who requests the job. Rakuten will then pay the drone operator who has been subcontracted for the job. The operator’s remuneration will be calculated by the remuneration offered by the party requesting the job, minus the fees for using the service.
*6 Even for airspace with no restrictions on flying drones, it is necessary to make an application to the government and/or local municipalities depending on the flight method being used. Users must log in with their Rakuten ID to access weather forecasts and precipitation radar. Use of the drone flight support service is free of charge during the trial period, but this may change as features are expanded and enhanced. Rakuten will notify users when the end of the trial period has been determined.
*7 Source: New system developed ahead of lifting of ban on Level 4 drone flights (Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism): https://www.mlit.go.jp/koku/content/001478580.pdf (*Japanese document)
*8 Reference link: https://academy.drone.rakuten.co.jp/ (*Japanese page)
*9 Starting December 5, 2022, DBS Tokyo Academy will be renamed Rakuten Drone Academy Tokyo: https://academy.drone.rakuten.co.jp/news/20221124/ (*Japanese page)
*10 Reference link: https://global.rakuten.com/corp/news/press/2022/0420_03.html
*11 Reference link: https://corp.rakuten.co.jp/news/update/2021/0415_01.html (*Japanese page)