S.Korea tests drone delivery in remote regions

This handout photo from South Korea’s Interior and Safety Ministry taken and released on July 31, 2019 shows a drone flying during a test operation for a public drone delivery system in Dangjin. – The system is used by local government agencies to send relief goods or public service-related mail and parcels to remote mountain and island villages. (Photo by handout / SOUTH KOREA’S INTERIOR AND SAFETY MINISTRY / AFP)

SEOUL, South Korea (AFP) — Seoul began testing delivery by drone in the country’s remote regions Wednesday, with the hope of improving residents’ quality of life, the government said.

The project, jointly launched by the interior and safety ministry and Korea Post, among other government agencies, aims to establish a “public drone delivery system” to serve the country’s dispersed population.

A test operation on Wednesday transported medical relief items from Dangjin, a city 80 kilometers southwest of Seoul, to two islands off South Korea’s west coast.

The same 20-minute journey would normally take delivery vessels two hours, the ministry said.

Earlier this year, American delivery giant UPS launched the first authorized use of unmanned drones to transport packages to recipients.

Seoul aims to open 10 drone delivery bases across the country by 2022.

South Korea has more than 3,000 islands, of which some 480 are inhabited and where many residents have limited access to health care and other public services.

© Agence France-Presse