7-Eleven begins drone delivery trials in South Korean resort town

7-Eleven drone delivery

Convenience store chain 7-Eleven is trialing 3-minute drone delivery services in Gapyeong, a quaint resort town in South Korea that has gained popularity because of its easy accessibility from Seoul. During the pilot program, which will run until the end of this year, there is no minimum order amount requirement, and delivery through drones is also being offered free of charge.

7-Eleven drone delivery in South Korea

The service is available from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. (before sunset) from Tuesday to Saturday every week. South Korean 7-Eleven customers can order convenience store items for drone delivery through the Allivery (All+Delivery) mobile app.

Joining 7-Eleven in this quest is drone solutions provider Pablo Air, which is also the first Korean company to participate in US drone delivery trials.

When an order is received, items are packed and transported by a winch to a drone station located on the store’s rooftop. Once these items are loaded into the drone’s delivery box, a ground control system operator sends the aircraft off on an autonomous flight to its destination. During the pilot program, this destination is going to be a dedicated drone delivery station located in Gapyeong and not someone’s backyard.

The drone, which is 990 x 990 x 750 mm in size, has a maximum payload capacity of 5 kg and a maximum flight time of 25 minutes. It flies at an average speed of 10 m/s or 36 km/h. And since the delivery station is located only 1 km from the convenience store, the drone can reach it in less than 3 minutes.

For safety purposes, customers are allowed to receive the order only after they complete authorization through a QR code. There are other safety measures in place too. As Pablo Air explains:

We have been steadily preparing for our drone delivery services, including by obtaining flight approval permissions, for the past two years. We have also implemented complementary technologies such as triple communication networks (RF, LTE, and SATCOM) and parachutes for optimal drone safety.

Read: How the FAA made drone shows possible on ‘America’s Got Talent: Extreme’

7-Eleven’s first drone delivery customer in South Korea was a guy who ordered ice cream and a hangover recovery drink. He told a local news outlet, “I was in a pretty bad condition. But because of delivery by a drone, I didn’t have to drive.”

Read: New survey reveals 57% of Americans have trust issues with drone delivery

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