Arriving a little late at the party, the South Korean government invested more than $ 1 billion in 2017 to become part of the growing Asian and global drone industry. The country chooses drones as one of eight major projects for innovative growth, sets enterprising and concrete goals for competing in the drone industry, and fosters the drone industry from a top-down perspective. I made a plan. By 2025, the government expects this investment to create 164,000 new jobs, and South Korea expects to operate more than 60,000 industrial drones within five years.
Growth and regulation of Korean drone industry
With the help of various policy support from the government, such as the 2018 drone demonstration project and the establishment of the drone testbed infrastructure, the domestic drone market in South Korea will change from $ 56 million in 2016 to 398 million in 2020. It has grown more than seven times to the dollar. Domestic pilot projects range from goods transportation, protection, surveillance and facility safety diagnostics to marine management, agricultural assistance and video recording.
In 2019, the government will lay the foundation for the development of the drone industry and the national economy through the use of drones, and as an initiative to encourage investment, research and development of viable commercial applications for drones, “to promote the use of drones. “Law” was announced. .. The law also introduced three policy tools to support the drone industry. A special free drone zone where drones can be freely tested in the city center selected for delivery, security, and surveillance. Financial support for drone companies to enter overseas markets. Establishment of Unmanned Aerial Vehicle System Traffic Management (UTM). Later that year, the country also released a roadmap for reforming drone operational regulations.
South Korea is the country’s largest drone theme park for drones, as drone regulations are currently very strict in many urban areas of South Korea where both safety and privacy concerns limit or completely ban flights. Invested $ 8 million in the construction of the land An unregulated zone in a tourist destination in the southwestern part of Thean. This two-soccer field-sized space gives developers, businesses and enthusiasts the freedom to take advantage of the multipurpose building for indoor flight, the 400-meter runway, and the 4,000-square-meter field for outdoor navigation. Use the space as their drone and R & D lab.
“We will invite drone-related companies and organizations to UV Land to create new employment opportunities and run various programs to become a city specializing in drone-related industry and tourism,” said Mayor Thean. KaSe-ro said in late 2021.
In addition, the Korea Aviation Safety Technology Institute (KIAST) is focusing on drone research and safety by setting up drone flight test sites by region and phase. These sites will be equipped with infrastructure such as runways and heliports, drone flight test operations centers, and flight and ground test hangars to support commercial drone R & D and safety certification.
At the end of last year, the South Korean government announced that it would ease drone regulations, strengthen support for related services, improve the commercialization aspect of the industry faster, and expand the market to about $ 843 billion by 2025. did. Transport (MOLIT), the capital of South Korea, has set safety standards for drone flight in cities and other crowded areas in late 2022, as well as drone flight restrictions in more locations across the country. Is released first.
In April 2022, MOLIT selected nine local governments as drone demonstration cities and included 14 drone companies in the regulatory sandbox. Demonstration City Project. This project will demonstrate a variety of drone technologies tailored to the characteristics of each drone demonstration city. These include commercialization of drone delivery between distribution centers in urban areas (Pablo Air), development of fire and lifesaving systems for cluster drones (Cheongju University Industrial Academic Cooperation Foundation), establishment of domestic drone parachute standards (HexaFactory), and integrated devices. Includes development. Invisible flight communication neutralization (SYNEREX), automatic drone inspection of concrete surface using AI at construction sites (ViewMagine), etc.
“We hope that the local governments and companies participating in this drone demonstration project will play a vital role in the development of new technologies in the drone sector and the growth of the drone industry, with safety measures as a top priority.” Director-Kim Hong Jung, President of Aviation Policy, said.
Urban air mobility
In June 2020, the government’s initiative to drive the drone industry culminated in South Korea’s Urban Air Mobility (K-UAM) roadmap. Aiming to introduce drone taxis by 2025, the K-UAM roadmap led to the launch of UAM Team Korea. ..
Apart from the commercial air taxi service in 2025, MOLIT will begin testing automated flight in 2030 to expand the UAM to replace the country’s crowded road system and by 2035 a series of pilots in the urban environment. We would like to approve the operation of a fully autonomous air taxi after the rest trial. Compared to ground transportation, drones that fly passengers to urban destinations are estimated to reduce travel time by approximately 60%.
In November 2020, the first step to meeting K-UAM’s 2025 timeline was to fly a drone taxi on Thou Island in Seoul. After a seven-minute flight at an altitude of 50 meters near the Han River, a two-seater drone taxi capable of vertical takeoff and landing, carrying 80 kilograms of rice on behalf of a person, successfully landed. In November 2021, Volocopter completed its first crew-based public test flight of a fully electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) air taxi flight in Seoul.
“MOLIT’s comprehensive K-UAM roadmap puts South Korea in a good position to reach its goal of commercializing UAM by 2025.” Florian Reuters, Volocopter CEO commented. “We are very honored to carry out the first public eVTOL test flight by crew in the country and to once again prove that the future of air taxi is here on Volocopter aircraft. As a pioneer in the UAM industry, we have friends and UAM. Both government and private sector partners to achieve in South Korea. “
Focusing on the revision of the regulatory framework for safety, the first phase of the 2021 K-UAM Roadmap introduces the K-UAM Grand Challenge (K-UAM GC) to set UAM safety regulations. I did. Sponsored by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport and sponsored by the Korea Aerospace Research Institute, K-UAM GC will commercialize UAM in 2025 by testing the safety and traffic management functions of UAM vehicles suitable for urban conditions and environment. A step-by-step demonstration program to support. The challenge recruitment period begins earlier this year, with testing, evaluation, and participant selection from late 2023 to 2023. In addition, the Korean government has released K-UAM Operation Concept 1.0. We will promote the K-UAMGC plan as a guideline for the commercialization of urban aviation mobility in South Korea.
Earlier this year, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport selected 13 operators, including Korea Airports Corporation, Korea Airports Corporation, and KT, for the K-drone system demonstration project. The K-Drone System is a drone traffic management system that supports the safe flight of multiple drones, such as drone flight monitoring and collision avoidance, and is an important infrastructure for the next era of drone delivery and drone taxi. Demonstration projects focus on real-world areas with high potential for commercialization to demonstrate how safety is important and the operation of K-drone systems is important for business expansion.
MOLIT predicts that the global market value of UAM services will reach $ 616 billion by 2040 and the domestic UAM market in South Korea will reach approximately $ 10 billion.