The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure & Transport holds a public hearing on drone industry development on July 19 with the Korea Transport Institute and the Korea Aerospace Research Institute.
According to the ministry’s plan to that end, approximately one trillion won (US$900 million) is invested for drone technology research and development until 2022 so that South Korea can rank fifth in the world in the sector and its technological strength reaches at least 90% of those of industry leaders. The investment is expected to create 164,000 jobs until 2025. At the same time, the South Korean government is aiming to boost the size of the local drone market from 70.4 billion won to 4.1 trillion won (US$3.6 billion) within 10 years and operate at least 60,000 drones for industrial purposes.
Specifically, the government is planning to provide more R&D support for the development of personal air vehicles, industrial drones and the like for use in such fields as construction, agriculture, energy and communications. Public organizations are scheduled to purchase about 3,000 drones, worth 301.2 billion won (US$271 million) in total, for five years to come and excellent products are expected to be given incentives in the government procurement market. In addition, an agency is set up in Pangyo, Gyeonggi Province so drone developers and manufacturers can get some help and work better with the other industries.
At present, the government is working on an unmanned aerial system traffic management system (UTM) for real-time drone locating, flight path sharing, airspace management, etc. Individual identification systems are scheduled to be added to it for flight path control, pilot control, management of unregistered units, etc.
Safety management systems covering the entire lifecycle of drones are introduced, too. The systems include mobile registration and the government is looking to adopt mandatory registration of drones with a weight of at least 250 grams by their owners. Appropriate insurance premium levels are planned to be proposed based on risk levels and drone-specific insurance policy development is planned to be supported. Clear rules are adopted to deal with drone-related accidents and a national flight test site is established in 2020 in Goheung, South Jeolla Province so that unmanned aircraft can be tested there.