The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport on Sept. 19 held an event at Sejong Lake Park in Sejong Special Self-Governing City to test drones that deliver food, like the one pictured here. (Yonhap News)

By Kim Young Deok and Lee Jihae

The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport has held an event at Sejong Lake Park in Sejong Special Self-Governing City showing how drones can deliver food.

The event on Sept. 19 was the first time for drones to be shown delivering food to people downtown.

Under the theme "Safe drones that make our lives convenient," organizers had five drones deliver hamburgers, chicken and macarons.

Three drones received orders via apps, departed from Sejong City Hall, flew 2.5 km as they crossed the Geumgang River and safely delivered food to the park. Another two left from an industrial park in the city's Naseong-dong neighborhood, crossed a throng of skyscrapers, and delivered food 1.5 km away. The average delivery time was 10 minutes.

The five multipurpose test drones were from domestic drone manufacturers such as Doosan Mobility Innovation and X Drone.

The event confirmed the drones' relevant technologies such as automatic takeoff and landing, flight routes and ordering systems using apps exclusively for delivery drones.

Jeong Yong Sik, the ministry's director general for aviation policy, said, "The government will provide various support so that industries using drones can become part of daily life as quickly as possible."


The nation's administrative capital of Sejong will test-run self-driving buses from 2021. (iclickart)

The nation's administrative capital of Sejong will start offering self-driving bus service from 2021. (iclickart)

By Kim Eun-young and Kim Minji

The country's administrative capital of Sejong from 2021 will be the first region in the country to run self-driving buses thanks to the city's designation as a special zone for self-driving and its roads being compatible with the bus rapid transit (BRT) system. 

The government on July 24 held a meeting in the Haeundae-gu district of Busan on regulation-free special zones to propel province-led innovative growth. Seven areas outside of the Seoul metropolitan area were designated as such zones including Sejong and Busan.

The zones are part of a campaign to spur industrial and technological development by governments in non-capital regions by deferring or exempting regional regulations. The policy was implemented in April this year to promote balanced national development through regulatory innovation. 

The self-driving buses will have 5G network technology installed to continuously share transportation data. Each vehicle will also have a precision map updated in real time, the ability to recognize traffic lights and a vehicle-to-vehicle communication system to ultimately ensure efficient traffic flow. 

Sejong from 2021 will first hold trial runs of 20 self-driving buses on roads, residential complexes and city areas, with the number to expand to 200 by 2033. 

Sejong Mayor Lee Choon-hee said, "Sejong will correct its lack of sufficient parking lots and create a more efficient structure for public transportation," adding, "We'll strive to inspect safety and promote the self-driving vehicle industry."



A visitor tries out life in a smart city through some VR gear at the Busan Eco-Delta City booth,

at the DMC Hi-Tech Industry Center in Seoul on July 16. (Yonhap News)



By Kim Eun-young and Kim Young Shin


John Doe, a resident of the "smart city" of Sejong City, commutes to work in an autonomous car. Thanks to new AI systems that analyze traffic and navigate through the fastest route possible, his trip is stress-free and relaxing. As he arrives at work, a drone delivers a few books and some tomatoes that were grown at a "smart farm" and which were bought with his Sejong Coin digital currency.


Jane Doe, living in the "smart city" of Busan, paid almost nothing for her electricity bill last month, despite the freezing weather, thanks to eco-friendly energy sources. Also, she no longer buys drinking water because she can drink purified, clean tap water straight from the city water supply system.


These are two of the Moon Jae-in administration’s blue prints for "smart cities," urban areas that enhance major government services in the city with state-of-the-art IT.


The Presidential Committee on the Fourth Industrial Revolution and the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport on July 16 announced plans for pilot projects that will build new "smart city" developments in the cities of Sejong City and Busan by 2021.


According to the plan, a 2.74-square-kilometer development in Sejong City’s block No. 5-1, a little smaller than the size of Yeouido island in Seoul, will become a car-sharing zone. Inside that zone, residents will commute using shared self-driving cars or on bicycles. They will also make payments using digital currencies that make use of blockchain technologies. Finally, the new development will also feature drones and robots that will deliver parcels and even offer first aid.


Busan’s new Eco-Delta City, a 2.19-square-kilometer development, will become an eco-friendly neighborhood that uses water from the Nakdonggang River and the Pyeonggangcheon Stream for energy and for drinking. The water will be used to generate hydrothermal energy, which will help residents save on their electricity bills, and the neighborhood will have water treatment facilities that are adapted to high-rise buildings and their water supply needs.


“We aim to boost the quality of life for the citizens by applying cutting-edge technology to the urban landscape,” said the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport. “We will successfully launch such 'smart cities' and share our experiences operating them with the global community.”


Detailed action plans for the pilot projects will be established by December after getting feedback from the public and private entities.






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