South Korea to invest US$47.2mln in unmanned vehicles by 2021

SEOUL: South Korea finalised a five-year master plan to invest a total of 54.5 billion won (US$47.2 million) to nurture and advance the local unmanned vehicle industry, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reported the science ministry as saying Monday.

The government will concentrate efforts on boosting the development of drones, self-driving cars, unmanned ships and agricultural machines by 2021, the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning said.

The ministry earlier designated the sector as one of the key strategic industries that characterize the fast-paced industrial transformation, dubbed the “fourth industrial revolution.”

The mid-term plan, which is subject to parliamentary endorsement, will take two years longer than an initial plan announced by the ministry last year, officials said.

The ministry said it will spend an additional 14.5 billion won (US$12.62 million) on developing the technology to manage unmanned vehicles, including the technology to monitor unmanned drones and planes flying at low altitudes.

The size of the global unmanned vehicle market came to US$24.8 billion in 2015. It’s expected to grow at the annual average rate of 22 per cent to US$67.3 billion in 2020, added the ministry.

South Korea is said to rank seventh in the world in terms of drone technology, but it relies on a lot of imported core equipment. The key parts of autonomous cars, such as cameras and radar, also depend on imports. – Bernama