Seoul designates new park for drone-flying

People sit on the grass alongside the Han river Image copyright AFP/Getty Images
Image caption The Han river is lined with parks, and now one of them will be drone-friendly

A new drone park is being set up in South Korea's capital city, allowing people to fly the devices freely.

Drone flights are strictly regulated in Seoul, but now the city government has allocated 27,000 sq m (290,000 sq ft) of land flanking the Han river for the new park, Yonhap news agency reports. The site, in the city's east, will be available from 25 June and will include an information centre providing advice on safety issues.

Drone operators will have to plan ahead for their outings, though. The park will only be open to 30 devices at a time, and people will have to book a space ahead of time, on a first-come, first-served basis. It will also be limited to devices weighing up to 12kg (1.9 stone), and there's an altitude limit of 150m (492ft).

A city official says that recent government deregulation means the drone industry is likely to grow, and the park is a way of ensuring people "can enjoy flying their drones safely and freely". The site will also include a drone racing area and "pilots' lounge", according to an earlier announcement on Seoul's official Facebook page.

Many areas of the capital remain off-limits to drone enthusiasts, and the strict flight rules have caused trouble for the city government itself in the past. In November, it called on the national government to ease restrictions on drone flights for things like traffic monitoring, as having to apply for approval weeks in advance was proving problematic.

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