drone pilot industryTransport ministry touts mail delivery by drone

October 10, 2021by helo-10
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PROGRAM TO BE EXPANDED:
The initative would help Chunghwa Post deliver mail more smoothly and be a boon to local drone makers, Minister Wang Kwo-tsai said

  • By Shelley Shan / Staff reporter

The Ministry of Transportation and Communications is seeking to expand the use of drones to deliver mail, inspect bridges and conduct other services, Minister of Transportation and Communications Wang Kwo-tsai (王國材) said yesterday.

Chunghwa Post on April 22 tested drones to deliver packages from Pingtung County’s Donggang Township (東港) to the outlying island of Siaoliuchiou (小琉球) 13km away.

The Directorate-General of Highways on April 19 and 20 used drones to inspect Wuling Bridge (武嶺橋) on Provincial Highway No. 3 in Taoyuan’s Dasi District (大溪) during maintenance work.

Photo: Chen Hsin-yu, Taipei Times

Both were pilot projects under a program that would also allow drone developers to test their gear under ministry supervision at seaports, highways and freeways, among other locations, the Institute of Transportation said.

“In other countries, drones are used to deliver packages. Chunghwa Post, as a state-run firm, is obligated to deliver mail and packages to residents in mountainous areas and on outlying islands. The firm is tasked to test drones in its logistics services,” Wang said on the sidelines of a drone exhibition.

Mail delivery is expected to run more smoothly once drones are widely deployed, which would also lend support to the expansion of the domestic drone industry, he said.

“Taiwan has the technology and personnel needed to develop an uncrewed aerial vehicle industry. We should ensure that drone applications are closely connected with the industry,” Wang said. “Apart from working with the Ministry of Science and Technology and Ministry of Education to support local innovators, we will also work with the Ministry of Economic Affairs to help local firms form partnerships with international manufacturers.”

In other news, the legislature’s Transportation Committee yesterday approved an amendment to the Road Traffic Management and Penalty Act (道路交通管理處罰條例), which would limit the number of reportable breaches of traffic regulations to 46 items.

The amendment stipulates that police can only issue multiple tickets to drivers for breaching the same rule if those breaches occur more than six minutes apart or on different blocks.

Last year, the police received about 6 million reports of traffic rule breaches, four times more than in 2016, Wang said.

“That has created a tremendous burden on our law enforcement personnel. Therefore, we want to clearly list the reportable offenses of traffic rules to eliminate frivolous ones,” he said.

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There is more to being a drone pilot than just buying a machine and flying in your backyard. It can be that simple, but most of us will need to understand some drone laws before we try to take to the sky.

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