Korea Post Completes South Korea's First Successful Drone Delivery

South Korea's national postal service completed the country's first successful drone delivery earlier this week, with plans of standardizing UAV delivery by 2022.

Yuri Smityuk/TASS

South Korea completed its first official drone delivery this week, when Korea Post successfully aerially transported a package to a southern island. According to the Yonhap News Agency based in Seoul, the unmanned aerial vehicle flew a payload of 17.6 pounds (8 kilograms) from a Korea Post post office in Geoheung county to Deukryang Island, a route spanning 2.49 miles (4 kilometers). 

Reportedly, this initial drone delivery will allow the Korea Post, which is South Korea’s national postal service, to analyze the behavior and performance of this modern delivery method. The postal service has performed previous tests to various islands off the Jeolla province’s coast, as well as rural areas in the mountainous parts of the Gangwon province. 

According to the Yonhap News Agency, the South Korean government is eager to grab a slice of the burgeoning drone industry pie, in hopes of securing itself a part of the promising UAV delivery market share. Drone-related search-and-rescue, logistics and commercial use are all industries that South Korea is reportedly keen on making part of its business prospects. 

Sputnik International reports that drone deliveries would be a huge boon to the country’s infrastructure, as the mountainous rural regions and over 3,400 islands make it difficult to transport goods efficiently. Reportedly, Korea Post is intent on standardizing nationwide drone delivery by 2022, which will require cohesive air-traffic management systems to be in place, as well as professional training for operators on the ground. In order to prepare, Korea Post will reportedly carry out trial deliveries in 10 mountainous areas and islands between 2019 and 2021. 

Korea Post president Kang Seong-ju said that “Based on today’s successful demonstration, we will establish a system not just to deliver mail to towns on mountains and islands but also to effectively distribute relief supplies in areas hit by natural disasters such as heavy snow using drones.” 

We’ve been seeing aid and relief deliveries become more frequent in numerous parts of the world, such as in Malawi where UNICEF is delivering medical supplies, or in Switzerland where blood samples are efficiently transported from clinic to clinic

According to Sputnik International, the South Korean government announced in July that it plans on investing an additional 1.2 trillion South Korean Won ($1.2 billion) in the drone industry over the next five years.