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Japan companies join to spawn drone-based services

Drones are already being used for many purposes; the new technology will boost their usefulness.

TOKYO -- Japanese companies are forming cross-industry partnerships as they attempt to carve out new domains in the fast-growing business-to-business drone market.

Electronics giant Toshiba and car-equipment maker Alpine Electronics will jointly provide drone-based inspection services for remote electrical infrastructure, it was announced Monday. The unmanned vehicles will take photos of power lines and towers located in mountainous regions, searching for defects.

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