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Seoul tests drone food delivery service amid pandemic

Economy 19:12 September 19, 2020

SEOUL, Sept. 19 (Yonhap) -- South Korea has tested an autonomous drone food delivery service amid rising demand for non-contact services during the COVID-19 pandemic, the transport ministry said Saturday.

In a test held in the administrative city of Sejong, some 130 kilometers southeast of Seoul, five drones delivered meals and other products to people at homes two to three kilometers away across a lake and high-rise buildings within 10 minutes, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport said in a statement.

"There are things to be improved before adopting the mid-to-long distance delivery services in urban areas. The government and companies need to address many challenges, such as delivery to high-rise buildings, maximum payload limits and weather-related issues," Jeong Yong-sik, director general in charge of aviation policy at the ministry, said.

The five drones used in the demonstration are multi-purpose drones made by Korean manufacturers with advanced technology. They include hydrogen fuel-cell drones suitable for long flights, as well as drones used in logistics and port surveillance, the statement said.

Korea aims to establish a presence in the drone delivery services markets, where competition is fierce among global logistics powerhouses, such as U.S. e-commerce giant Amazon.com, Inc. and German delivery services company DHL.

This photo taken on Sept. 19, 2020, shows a person receiving a food box delivery from a drone during a government-led test event at the administrative city of Sejong, some 130 kilometers southeast of Seoul. (Yonhap)


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