SEOUL -- Targeting vacationers who do not wish to leave their pension to shop for groceries, the South Korean operator of 7-Eleven, a convenience store franchise, has launched a pilot project to demonstrate a drone delivery service in a rural resort town northeast of Seoul.
Delivery services using drones have been demonstrated in South Korea. The first commercial service made its debut in the southern port city of Busan in 2021 when a local service operator used a drone to carry lightweight parcels including SIM cards, medication, and snacks, to a ship anchored about two kilometers from a dock.
Other food-related service operators including the GS 25 convenience store chain are also testing fly-by delivery services for the quick and easy supply of daily necessities, groceries, and snacks to parks and open public open areas with a small moving population and a wide unobstructed area for safe landing and pickup.
7-Eleven selected a store in Gapyeong, some 40 kilometers (24.8 miles) northeast of Seoul, for the demonstration of its drone delivery service. The store was equipped with a drone station including a helipad to send a delivery drone to a pension about one kilometer away. From Tuesday to Saturday, the drone will fly for about three minutes to carry a maximum load of five kilograms (11 pounds).
The franchise store operator partnered with Allivery, a drone delivery startup. Customers near the Gapyeong store can make an order using a dedicated smartphone app. "We have differentiated our service by establishing a specialized drone delivery convenience store by combining a store and a drone station together," Choi Byeong-yong, a 7-Eleven official, said in a statement on July 13.
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