March 24, 2022

Singapore’s Sentosa Development Corporation (SDC) and Sentosa Enterprise Scheme (SES) have teamed up with ST Engineering and foodpanda to pilot drone food delivery from Sentosa’s restaurants and eateries to St John’s Island, one of Singapore’s Southern Islands.

Taking place now, until April 9th, and involving participants on St. Johns Island, the project will study the feasibility and operational requirements of such drone food deliveries, including the payment system for the service.

It is the eighth innovation project under the SES, a scheme aimed at enhancing Sentosa’s array of unique leisure offerings by providing opportunities for local enterprises to testbed innovative concepts and ideas on Sentosa, a statement by SDC said.

The pilot is also foodpanda’s continuation of its expansion into drone deliveries – following a successful trial in August 2020 where five packets of fried chicken were drone-delivered to an offshore vessel.

Drone food deliveries could also enable food and beverage (F&B) establishments in Sentosa to reach a broader base of customers in the Southern Islands which do not yet have F&B amenities. This also provides additional business support for participating Sentosa establishments as they emerge from the pandemic, SDC said.

The outcome of the pilot scheme could have implications for other parts of the world which are less accessible. If successful, other places could follow suit.

Under the pilot programme, participants will be able to order freshly prepared meals from a variety of participating F&B establishments in Sentosa via the foodpanda app. The meals would be transported by foodpanda riders to the take-off point at Tanjong Beach, from where the meals will take a seven-minute flight to a designated delivery point on St John’s Island. The scheme leverages the DroNet solution by ST Engineering, which is a scalable drone operation platform approved by the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore for Beyond-Visual-Line-of-Sight flight operations.

The end-to-end platform combines drone robotics, networking, video analytics and data sharing for applications such as public security, perimeter security, asset inspection and lightweight deliveries, a press release said.


The pilot utilises ST Engineering’s in-house drone, DrN-35, which comes with a payload of up to 10kg and flight distance of up to 7km, as well as dual redundancy for power and sensors suite for enhanced reliability.

As an additional safety measure, the flight path of the drone will be away from popular areas on Sentosa and St John’s Island.

Lee Cheh Hsien, divisional director (Planning), SDC, commented: “Over the course of the pandemic, we have been exploring innovative solutions that can support business establishments in Sentosa, while also enhancing the leisure experience of Sentosa’s guests, including the extension of leisure getaways to the Southern Islands via a public ferry service on weekends and public holidays from Sentosa Cove Village. Our latest SES pilot has the potential to achieve these twin objectives. We are excited to embark on this pilot with ST Engineering and foodpanda to test the viability of live ordering and stability of delivery via drones. We will study the outcome of this pilot. Should drone food deliveries be operationally and commercially feasible, we hope that this service can be extended to our guests visiting the neighbouring Southern Island.”

Miro Banovic, head of logistics, foodpanda Singapore, added: “Being in the business of convenience, we are always looking for ways to elevate the quick commerce experience – for our merchant partners, customers, and riders. Following our previous successful drone trial with ST Engineering, we are thrilled to now be working with Sentosa Development Corporation as well to realise drone deliveries for actual customer orders, and see this as an encouraging step forward to making drone deliveries a commercial reality. Besides expanding the reach of F&B merchant partners at Sentosa, the drone trial will also be able to provide individuals at St John’s Island with even more food options that were previously not available to them. Such drone deliveries also complement our rider fleet and allows us to deliver food to people in remote or previously inaccessible areas.”

Interested local enterprises or startups may submit their SES applications here.

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