October 24, 2017 6:29 pm JST

DJI opens indoor drone arena in Tokyo

Chinese unmanned aerial vehicle maker aims to get people flying

SATOSHI MOROTOMI, Nikkei staff writer

DJI Arena by JDRONE Tokyo includes an advanced flight zone where users can pilot their drones through a series of gates.

TOKYO -- China's DJI, the world's No. 1 drone maker, has just opened an indoor drone flight training center in Tokyo. The center includes a retail shop and technical staff to help customers get in the air.

The center caters to both businesses and individuals, and is aimed at expanding the market for unmanned aerial vehicles.

The DJI Arena by JDRONE Tokyo opened Oct. 21 in the capital's Katsushika Ward. The facility, a 20-minute walk from Koiwa Station, has a flight area that is nearly 40 meters long, 10 meters wide and 9 meters high. The space is divided into two zones, one of which is reserved for advanced users practicing maneuvers such as flying through hexagonal gates.

Admission fees vary depending on the customer and the day. For example, 60-minute session in the advanced-flight zone costs 2,400 yen ($21.40) per person on weekdays, and 2,800 yen on weekends. Corporate users are charged 54,000 yen for a three-hour weekday session.

The facility is managed and operated by Japan Circuit, DJI's dealership in Japan. The Chinese drone maker already operates a similar drone arena in South Korea.

While flying drones in densely populated areas such as central Tokyo requires permission, people at the drone arena can just pay the admission fee and take off, and they do not need to worry about the weather. The center also offers a place for people considering buying a drone the chance to try one out.

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