The government of South Korea has pledged its support to the burgeoning drone industry in the hopes of capturing a share of the anticipated $150 billion drone market over the next decade.
Korean news site Arirang reports that President Park reviewed the latest drone technology while visiting the Korea Aerospace Research Institute last week.
″Korea is the world′s fifth-largest auto producer; and seventh in terms of drone technology. If we come up with a strategy and focus on increasing our capabilities, we will be able to catch up to the leading nations.″ the President told onlookers. Citing the rapid growth of the industry and the fast development cycle in the drone industry, the president urged cooperation between government and the private sector in developing South Korea’s drone business, saying that speed was important.
″Right now, developing the technology is important, but the speed of development is equally important,″ said the president. Park pledged cooperation with the private sector over the next three years; saying that small drones manufactured in South Korea were already losing price competitiveness against China’s drone manufacturers, and that the country risked falling behind in drone technology advances if they did not move to catch up quickly.
South Korea has designated five areas in the country as “drone flying zones” which will be available for companies as well as the government to test commercial and public service drone applications. The South Korean military will start to use Korean built drones next year; and the government has also considered the use of drones for emergency response and firefighting.
In addition to commercial applications, the domestic market for recreational drones is expanding in South Korea, with drone racing becoming a growing trend. The GiGA Drone Race, held at a shopping complex in Seoul, drew 24 drone racing competitors and hundreds of spectators curious about the new sport.