Rakuten, just like Amazon, is experimenting with drones that can quickly deliver goods to its customers. Unlike Jeff Bezos' company, however, the e-commerce giant is starting small with a service designed for golfers. From May, players at a specific course in Japan's Chiba prefecture will be able to take out their phone and request some new golf balls or refreshments. A Mini Surveyor drone developed by the Autonomous Control Systems Laboratory -- a company from Chiba which Rakuten has now invested in -- will then fly them over from a base station near the course's clubhouse.
According to NHK, Rakuten will then assess whether the technology can be expanded to other golf courses and, ultimately, people's homes in a similar manner to Amazon's proposed Prime Air program. It sounds like a sensible test bed, although we're worried that some particularly audacious approach shots could see deadly quadcopters falling from the sky.