Cutting-edge drones on show in Japan

Japan's government is expected to loosen the rules for drones this year, allowing for more autonomous devices to take to the air. Some of the latest designs are on show now in an exhibition near Tokyo.

Around 200 companies and organizations are participating in the event in Chiba City.

Telecom giant SoftBank is exhibiting a drone that it developed with an electronic component manufacturer. The device has six double propellers, giving it more power than standard four-propeller models. SoftBank says it can carry up to 20 kilograms.

Rival telecom firm KDDI has set up its latest drone more than 70 kilometers from the exhibition center.
The drone is controlled remotely with a tablet computer through smartphone data networks.
KDDI says it could be used to check remote infrastructure safely.

Currently, the government only allows drones to fly out of the operator's line-of-sight if the area is uninhabited. But it is expected to allow flights in inhabited areas from this year.

Suzuki Shinji, president of exhibition organizers Japan UAS Industrial Development Association says that companies have been anticipating the changes and have been developing drones that are safer and more reliable, and the idea of the exhibition is to show what they have created.

The exhibition will run until Thursday.