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Eyes top 3 spot in robotics by 2013
Policymakers hope to build a larger market for the country`s robotic manufacturing and services, an industry segment some believe to be the next gold mine in consumer electronics.
According to a project plan released Thursday, the government plans to create a 30 trillion won ($29.5 billion) domestic industry in robot manufacturing by 2013, with exports approaching $20 billion and adding 100,000 new jobs.
The market share of Korean-made robots will increase to 15 percent during the same period, advancing the industry to among the global top three.
The project was announced jointly by the Ministry of Information and Communication and the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy.
"The Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy has been supporting private sector efforts in developing robots for industrial and consumer use, while the Ministry of Information and Communication focused on developing next-generation robots with enhanced network capabilities. By sharing the advancements, we expect to prevent overlaps in investment and crate synergy," said Jeong Dong-hee from the Commerce Ministry`s industrial machinery division.
The robotics industry was designated by the government as one of Korea`s next-generation growth engines in 2003. To secure an early service market and find killer applications to make robots a mainstream consumer electronics item, the government said it plans to devise a stronger policy framework to support research and development and enhance the technology level in robotic components.
The government plans to strengthen the ties between industry and academia by supporting the training of research personnel and increasing support for international standardization efforts. Policymakers are also planning to build regional industrial clusters for robotics manufacturing, according to the Commerce Ministry.
The road map plan distinguishes three steps in the development of robot services. The first-generation robots will be characterized by home-use abilities and entertainment features such as video games and music, a sector policymakers will focus on through 2008.
At the next level, the industry try to create a market for robots that are integrated with physical abilities and intelligence to help with household chores and take care of the elderly or disabled.
The third stage of development, proceeding between 2010 and 2013 according to the road map plan, will feature robots with a high level of intelligence to interact more efficiently with humans.
"The focus is on advancing core technologies and component technologies and support training of personnel. Sharing technology advancements and developing business models that could relate with other next-generation industries are also important," said Lee Ho-gil of the state-run Center for Intelligent Robots.