Skyports Drone Services has launched a new project in Yeosu City, Korea, which will see drones deliver pharmaceuticals and foodstuffs between islands, supported by the company’s new drone partner RigiTech.
The Korean Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport (MoLIT), Korea Institute of Aviation Safety Technology (KIAST) and Yeosu City government are supporting the project.
The first project phase will see drones used for five months to demonstrate the viability of drone deliveries and potential benefits for island residents and local businesses.
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The beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) service will see drones fly for distances of between 20 and 60km, with an app being set up for delivery and collection requests.
Yeosu consists of the Yeosu peninsula, in addition to 365 islands, 48 of which are inhabited and 317 of which are uninhabited.
The region’s aging population will be provided with their first link to the mainland and be offered the opportunity to sell their seafood and produce at a more competitive price, Skyports has said.
This series of flight trials is the first conducted by a drone services consortium made up of Skyports Drone Services Korea, Marine Drone Tech and RGB Lab.
Earlier this year, the drone company established offices in Busan and Yeosu as part of the company’s expansion across Asia.
Mitchell Williams, Korea country manager, Skyports Drone Services, said: “The Yeosu City project has the essential ingredients we look for when launching a new project: appetite for innovation, local and governmental support, and a strong and scalable use case.
“…This project is a remarkable endeavour that aligns perfectly with our vision – Creating drone delivery networks that connect remote areas and improve quality of life, anywhere in the world. Our technology has been proven and recognised for its reliability, and now it’s time for it to shine in the dynamic and forward-thinking landscape of the Yeosu region.”
RigiTech’s Eiger drone system and Skyports Drone Services new light payload electric VTOL aircraft will complete the deliveries. The Eiger has a large payload volume and can reportedly carry 3kg, with long-distance BVLOS capability, which the companies believe will make it suitable for Yeosu’s geography.
The aircraft joins the similarly capable Swoop Aero Kookaburra III and Kite in the Skyports Drone Services fleet and will support the drone operator’s scale-up and contingency planning.
A Yeosu City official added: “Yeosu City is set to lead the drone industry by expanding infrastructure to foster drone mobility, a new growth driver for the future and conducting a drone logistics delivery demonstration project aimed to provide convenience for island residents, who live in a logistically vulnerable area.”
The project’s second phase will review the benefits of the project with the hopes of scaling the service to see if it can be introduced to further locations on a more long-term basis.