GS Caltex President Hur Sae-hong, GS Retail President Cho Yoon-sung, Jeju Gov. Won Hee-ryong, Dir.-Gen. Choi Nam-ho in charge of manufacturing industry policy at the MOTIE, and Park Jong-hyun, a director with ETRI participate in an event to demonstrate a logistics innovation experiment using drone at GS Caltex’s filling station in Jeju on June 8. (Photos: GS Caltex)
GS Caltex, GS Retail, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE) and Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI) have joined forces in demonstrating a logistics innovation experiment using drones.
GS Caltex unveiled a vision of utilizing a network of gas stations across the nation as drone delivery and future mobility centers.
Among those on hand at the demonstration event were GS Caltex President Hur Sae-hong, GS Retail President Cho Yoon-sung, Jeju Gov. Won Hee-ryong, Dir.-Gen. Choi Nam-ho in charge of manufacturing industry policy at the MOTIE, and Park Jong-hyun, a director with ETRI.
The highlight of the event was the drone delivery experiment. As GS25’s app “My Own Fridge” received orders an employee with a GS25 outlet in Jeju transported lunch boxes to a nearby filling station of GS Caltex from which drones flied to destinations – one to Haean Primary School, a 0.8 km distance drive, and the other to Hwarang Pension, 1.3 km away.
GS Retail is to test-operate drone delivery services starting September. GS Retail aims to commercialize drone delivery services this year following a few months of tests.
Drone delivery began to be studied four years ago. The global e-commerce juggernaut Amazon and an Amazon clone called JD.com tested a drone delivery service in 2016, but such services are yet to be made available.
As an unmanned drone was found to fall on Baengnyeong Island, regulations over drones have surged.
The real reason for a failure in the commercialization of drone delivery services is economic infeasibility. GS25 does not expect drone delivery services to make immediate profits.
“If drone delivery services are introduced at GS25 outlets in remote mountainous and island areas such as Yeonpyeong Island and Baengnyeong Island, a logistics network in which daily necessities and safety goods would be delivered to residents in the area in an emergency situation could be built up,” a GS Retail official said. In that case, he said, convenience stores could play a part of social safety net.
A drone takes off on the rooftop of GS Caltex’s Musucheon Gas Station in Jeju on June 8.
Filling stations of GS Caltex are to be used for taking off and landing drones. Gas stations will serve as logistics centers. GS Caltex will also be responsible for the operation of drones.
On that day, GS Caltex unveiled its vision to reinvent the conventional gas station into futuristic filling stations. Gas stations will serve not only as a space to gas up, but also as one to charge hydrogen cars and EVs, as well as facilitating general home delivery and drone delivery services.
GS Caltex tested the delivery of petroleum samples via drone at the Incheon Logistics Center in April. A small boat has been used to transport petroleum samples before an oil tanker moored at a wharf unloads the petroleum products.
The boat will be replaced by a drone in the future. In 2015, GS Caltex began to use drones to examine the erosion and cracks of the upper part of equipment at its Yeosu plant in which human approach is not easy.
GS Caltex President Hur Sae-hong said, “Filling stations are considered to be suitable for being logistics centers since they are easy for logistics vehicles to have access, have an abundant space to store goods and they are scattered across the nation.”
A MOTIE official said related regulations will be relaxed so that drone services can be made available in urban centers and suburbs.
The government will consider developing a hydrogen drone with a bigger flight distance and cargo weight as well as diverse logistics services using gas stations on top of drone delivery services, the official said.