For residents of Kosuge, an idyllic village nestled in a valley deep in the mountains of Yamanashi Prefecture, fast food is a luxury. There aren’t any convenience stores or supermarkets in the tiny community, let alone a McDonald’s.
So when Aeronext Inc. celebrated its 100th on-demand drone delivery in Kosuge in July, the startup treated villagers to fast food chain Yoshinoya Co.’s signature gyūdon beef bowls — steamed rice topped with thinly sliced beef and simmered onions. Amid a small crowd of curious onlookers, hot meals prepared in a Yoshinoya kitchen car were hauled onto spider-like drones that took off in regular intervals to several drop-off stations dotted around the village.
For those who got to savor the dish, it was a taste of the city delivered by air, and a glimpse of a future in which these flying devices could become an essential part of rural life.