← News Oct 14th 2016

South Korea Invests Big Money To Make Superior Robots

scientists developing a robot

When a country goes ahead to develop a massive theme park and a research center for technology, then you know it is very serious about robots. That's what happening in South Korea. It has been a big player in the tech world judging from the success of Samsung, the world's largest phone manufacturer. Now, the government has decided to pump 500 billion won, or about $445 million, to cultivate a powerful robotics industry in the next five years, the South Korean trade ministry reported on Tuesday. According to him, vacuum robots are the most commonly used type of robot in different sectors such as households, medicine and agriculture.

Last year, a team from the country clinched the top prize in the recently completed DAPRA's Robotics Challenge event. The challenge is a highly valued robotic showcase with the most high tech robot density worldwide. The group came up with a robot called Drinky,a remarkable piece of technology that can comfortably drink with humans in one table.

The robotic density figure is a key indicator for evaluating the degree of automation in the current international markets. The average global robotic density stands at 66 robotic units per 10,000 employees. In fact, powerful Asian economies such as South Korea, Japan, Taiwan have surpassed this figure together with USA and Canada. The current global leader in robotic production is South Korea.

A huge chunk of the money will go into financing research and development centres with the hope of nurturing new talent and help in developing more ambitious robotics by 2020. South Korea is not the only candidate interested in the robotics industry, many other nations are building their own. For example, Japanese telco Softbank is the brains behind the wonderful creation of Pepper, a companion humanoid robot.

Research conducted by International Data Corporation (IDC) in the past year shows that the global robotic industry could be worth $135 billion by 2019. This is almost double of the $71 billion generated last year. With such prospect figures, South Korea want a piece of the big cake.

During this week conference, Joo Hyung-hwan, South Korean trade minister said, "The robot industry has emerged as a new technology frontier that will give a fresh boost to the manufacturing sector. "The government will fully support the businesses" investment into research and development in a bid to help the industry grow as a new export leader."

Government support to speed up the integration of cheaper and more efficient robots is good news for South Korean factory owners, since the industry is facing a weak global economy coupled by a sluggish domestic demand. However, the benefits that come with a high-tech robotics will not be shared with the expected hype across the world. Some of the developing countries including Egypt, Indonesia, India, Ethiopia, among others have great anticipation to follow the example of China, South Korea to enhance job creation and economic growth. However, the migration to automation means that industrialisation may generate relatively fewer jobs for the next generation.

Over the years, the South Korean economy has had a wide array of sophisticated technology from the Hanwah Eagles baseball team that installed robots to act as fans at their games to the autonomous robotic prison guards that were used by a jail to maintain security. How about the remarkable jellyfish-shredding bot made to guard the coastline from sea creatures! The country is in the forefront to ensure this works at whatever cost.

The IDC report indicates that a big bucks are most likely to be spent on manufacturing of the robots. The robotic market is set to be lucrative. Aside from that, it is expected that in future, robotic workers will work hand-in-hand with human staff to replace the old, rigid production methods with flexible and faster structures.

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