A new project for the drone delivery of food and medication delivery in Yeosu City, Korea, has been unveiled by Skyports Drone Services. With new drone partner RigiTech, Skyports Drone Services will be conducting flights for the first time with this project.
The Korea Institute of Aviation Safety Technology (KIAST), the Yeosu City government, and the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport (MoLIT) are supporting the Yeosu City drone project, which aims to provide inter-island drone deliveries within the coastal Yeosu region of Korea. The drone services consortium, comprising Skyports Drone Services Korea, Marine Drone Tech, and RGB Lab, is conducting a series of flight testing and proof-of-concept projects, the first of which is this one. The project’s first phase began in June of this year and will last until November.
Phase one of the project will see regular flights operated between the Yeosu mainland and three islands (Gaedo, Geumodo, Songdo) providing an airbridge for communities in hard-to-reach parts of the region. Through the five-month project, the consortium aims to demonstrate the viability, safety and benefits of drone operations, and highlight how regular services can improve welfare, access, and connectivity for island residents and local businesses.
The beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) service will fly distances of 20-60km. Using a mobile application which has been developed for the project, island residents will be able to request the delivery or collection of a range of cargo, including:
- Pharmaceutical goods (with the intent to carry more complex medical goods, such as pathology samples, in the future)
- Restaurant food and groceries
- Fresh seafood (such as sea urchins and octopus), caught by islanders and sold to restaurants on the mainland
The drone delivery business offers for the aging island population a never-before-possible link to the mainland, improving access to medical care and food delivery, as well as the chance to sell their products and seafood at a higher price. To further increase island residents’ access and communication, the team will investigate the sustainability of mail deliveries.
The project will be carried out with Skyports Drone Services’ new light payload electric VTOL aircraft and RigiTech’s Eiger drone technology. After months of rigorous flight testing, the Yeosu City project marks the RigiTech Eiger’s first commercial use since Skyports Drone Services and RigiTech formed their cooperation.
The Eiger was chosen because of its high volume (3 kg) payload and long range BVLOS capability, which are characteristics that make it a good fit for the Yeosu region. The aircraft supports the drone operator’s scale-up and contingency planning, joining the equally capable Swoop Aero Kookaburra III and Kite in the Skyports Drone Services fleet.
“Where better to launch our new partnership with RigiTech than in Skyports Drone Services’ newest market?” stated Mitchell Williams, country manager for Skyports Drone Services in Korea. We are pleased to launch the Eiger and start delivering goods around the Yeosu area.
The Yeosu City project possesses the fundamental components that we seek out when initiating a new project: a compelling and scalable use case, a willingness for innovation, and support from the community and government. We are eager to demonstrate to Skyports Drone Services and our colleagues in the Korea consortium how drone deliveries can meaningfully and sustainably link isolated areas.
This idea is an amazing endeavor that perfectly fits with our mission to build global drone delivery networks that connect isolated locations and enhance people’s quality of life. Now that our technology has been demonstrated and accepted as dependable, it is time for it to flourish in the innovative and energetic Yeosu region.
We’re excited to join the Skyports Drone Services’ project and fleet, to work together to push the boundaries of BVLOS flights in new continents as our own team keeps growing,” said Adam Klaptocz, co-founder and CEO of RigiTech.
A Yeosu City official said, “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 reflects the characteristics of the Yeosu region, which has 45 inhabited islands.”
Phase two of the project will review the benefits and use cases of the project and aim to scale the service, making it available in more locations and on a permanent basis.