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GK Kyoto, in collaboration with Tokushima City and Yamaha Motor, plans and designs demonstration experiments using water mobility.

GK Kyoto(President: Nobuyuki Enomoto), Tokushima City, Yamaha Motor Co. and the NPO ‘Shinmachi River Protection Society’ planned and supported a demonstration experiment and next-generation boat test-ride event aimed at ‘decarbonising and creating a lively waterfront area’. Our company provides total support from the planning to the production of the logo for the demonstration experiment, decorations on the boats and even the production of a questionnaire that is close to the customer’s voice.

The demonstration experiment and test-ride event will be held from 26 February to 11 March near the Shinmachigawa and Suketogawa riverbank green areas in Tokushima City. Boats equipped with Yamaha Motor Corporation’s next-generation HARMO electric boat handling system were used.

The HARMO used in this demonstration is a ‘next-generation boat handling system platform’ consisting of a propulsion unit powered by an electric motor with low environmental impact, a remote control box to control the operation and a joystick to enable intuitive operation. It was developed with the aim of providing a smart package boat that allows passengers to spend more time in comfort thanks to the quietness unique to electric motors. With high environmental adaptability and easy control, it adds value as a fun and more comfortable ‘low-speed mobility on water’ to cruise ships and other vessels in tourist destinations.

In the past, boating in Japan was a popular form of transport in towns, and the waterfront was a familiar part of daily life. Today, with the decline of boat transport due to the development of land transport and urban design to ensure safety, the waterfront has become a place that is somewhat distant from everyday life. However, with recent deregulation, the waterfront is beginning to attract attention as an opening for regional development. Here in Tokushima, too, we believe that by reviving water transport as a new infrastructure, we can work to preserve and promote culture and the economy.

Tokushima City, the host city, was selected by the Japanese Government as an ‘SDGs Future City’ in 2022 as a city with advanced initiatives in consideration of the SDGs. To date, the city has developed various initiatives to solve social issues. One such initiative is a project in partnership with Yamaha Motor Co. and the NPO ‘Shinmachi River Protection Society’. With a view to the electrification of the Hyotanjima Cruise Boat, which runs through the centre of Tokushima City, a verification test of the aforementioned HARMO is being carried out to verify new ‘koto’ (usage and experience).

GK Kyoto has eliminated the engine noise that has been a problem with conventional vessels in this verification experiment. The project’s main theme was to create a ‘boarding experience (koto) that does not interfere with conversation’ by making the most of the quietness of electric power. Specifically, the project included a cruise to enjoy conversation while enjoying refreshments, and a jazz performance from the riverbank, using the boat as a stage on the water, at the Tokushima Marche held once a month and at other times when people gather on the Shinmachi River. The event provided many people, mainly Tokushima City residents, with a new experience on the water.