Drone and robot delivery will be made available as early as the first half of 2022. Drones and mobile robots are expected to be especially beneficial to making deliveries to remote areas, including island communities and mountainous regions, loading and unloading of parcels, and classification.
The Ministry of Economy and Finance announced on Wednesday that it reached agreement with relevant parties to include drones and robots in the means of transportation under the Logistics Services Development Act through the “one-step model” approach, which is designed to curb friction and find the middle ground with existing businesses.
A spike in non face-to-face services drove up the demand for delivery and logistics industry, leading to the enactment of the Logistics Services Development Act in January this year, which is intended for protecting the rights of delivery workers and developing the logistics industry. However, drones and robots were not included in the means of transportation under this Act in the face of the opposition from existing players in the business, such as drivers of taxis, passenger vehicles, and vans, taking drone and robot deliveries as a threat to their jobs. Upon the launch of the “one-step model” approach, drones and robots became recognized as a means of transportation.
Accordingly, the South Korean government plans to amend the act with the focus on including robots and drones in the list of means of transportation under the Logistics Services Development Act early next year. The government aims to pass the amendment bill through the National Assembly and commercializing within as early as the first half of 2022.