South Korea: Jeju Island To Begin First Commercial Drone Delivery Service

The south­ern resort of Jeju is at the cen­tre of South Korea’s present tri­als of both eVTOLs and drones and it was announced this week that the island will host the country’s first com­mer­cial drone deliv­ery ser­vice, reports koreabizwire.com.

The ser­vice is to tar­get some 130 house­holds in Gapa­do, a remote islet locat­ed south­west of the city of Seog­wipo. The drones will be deliv­er­ing light­weight, non-spe­cial items. Drone land­ing hubs will be set up in Jeju and Gapa­do islands and spe­cial air­ways are to be des­ig­nat­ed for the deliv­ery ser­vice. A spe­cial­ly con­struct­ed con­trol tow­er will iden­ti­fy and man­age the drones.

(Cred­it: South Korea Min­istry of Land, Infra­struc­ture and Trans­port) 

Dur­ing the last five years, South Kore­a’s gov­ern­ment and pri­vate com­pa­nies have tri­alled var­i­ous drone deliv­ery ser­vices for snacks and small parcels includ­ing med­i­cines and dai­ly neces­si­ties for peo­ple liv­ing in the islands that are scat­tered across the south­ern sea. How­ev­er, no com­pa­ny has won gov­ern­ment approval for com­mer­cial ser­vices because of safe­ty rea­sons.

At present, due to South Kore­a’s air space which is tight­ly inter­linked with com­mer­cial and mil­i­tary air routes, there is lit­tle room left for drones or eVTOLs. Com­pa­nies that wish to fly such craft over urban areas includ­ing Seoul are usu­al­ly required to receive approval from local gov­ern­ments and the Defence Min­istry for every sin­gle flight.

Even so, South Korea’s Min­istry of Land, Infra­struc­ture and Trans­port said in a state­ment this week that the Min­istry has now select­ed 15 cities and local­ly gov­erned areas for drone ser­vice tri­als. Sub­si­dies are to be pro­vid­ed accord­ing­ly to the pop­u­la­tion and size of the urban infra­struc­ture of each area.

For exam­ple, the city of Seong­nam in Gyeong­gi Province plans to set up drone deliv­ery points near Jun­gang Park and the Tan­cheon Stream and offer com­mer­cial drone deliv­ery ser­vice for items pur­chased at con­ve­nience stores in the park. While the city of Incheon plans to adapt large drones capa­ble of car­ry­ing up to 100 kilo­grams to trans­port equip­ment need­ed for res­cue mis­sions at sea. Take-off and land­ing zones as well as flight routes are two be estab­lished along­side drone iden­ti­fi­ca­tion and safe­ty man­age­ment sys­tems.

(Cred­it: Yon­hap /Jeju Provin­cial Government/Koreabizwire.com)

Kim Young-guk, a Trans­port Min­istry Aer­i­al Pol­i­cy Bureau Offi­cer, said in a state­ment, “This is the year that com­mer­cialised drone deliv­ery ser­vices will begin in Korea.”

(News Source: www.koreabizwire.com)

(Top image: cred­it — Yon­hap /Jeju Provin­cial Government/Koreabizwire.com)

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