The rural-area drone delivery service is part of 7-Eleven's effort to differentiate its business models in South Korea's 26 trillion won ($21.8 billion) convenience store market where competition is fierce. In August 2021, The convenience store operator joined hands with Neubility, a domestic autonomous robot startup, to develop and commercialize a short-range wheeled robot delivery service.
Delivery services using robots and drones are currently being demonstrated by major food delivery service operators such as Baedal Minjok and Yogiyo in urban areas in South Korea. However, it is rare for a convenience store operator to develop unmanned delivery services. Major convenience store franchises including 7-Eleven offer short-range delivery services via human deliverymen on foot or motorcycles.
Korea Seven said in a statement that the company partnered with Pablo Air, a domestic drone delivery service company, to develop and commercialize new drone delivery service models. 7-Eleven will select a store in a rural area to provide a drone delivery service to nearby villages and camping grounds. Pablo Air will install a drone landing station at the test store. The rural-area drone delivery service will be demonstrated by the end of 2021.
"We predict that our collaboration will become a stepping stone for the development of delivery services that will help reduce rural areas that are unreachable by deliverymen," Korea Seven CEO Choi Kyung-ho was quoted as saying.
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