Moon encourages revolution in robotics

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Moon encourages revolution in robotics

President Moon Jae-in sipped the coffee made by a robot. His review: “It tastes good.”

Moon was not just sitting around drinking coffee. The president was visiting Daegu on Friday taking a look at various innovative robotic technologies, including one capable of painting interiors.

“It is a convenient technology for painting apartments,” President Moon commented while watching the demonstration of the robot.

At the event, held at the Hyundai Robotics headquarters in Daegu, the government announced its plan to support the local robotics industry to expand into a 15 trillion won ($13.2 billion) market while fostering 20 robotics companies each with annual revenue of over 100 billion won by 2023. In doing so, it hopes Korea will become one of the four leading countries in the world for robotics development and manufacturing.

Last year, the local robotics market was estimated to be worth 5.7 trillion won, while there are only seven robotics companies in the country with over 100 billion won in revenue, including Hyundai Robotics.

The goal is to increase the number of robots in traditional manufacturing from 320,000 last year to 700,000 in the next five years.

“Robotics is a representative new industry that is a core technology in the fourth industrial revolution and will create high value in the future,” President Moon said. “The robotics industry is an opportunity for Daegu and for Korea.”

He said robots and smart factories can help revive traditional manufacturing industries.

The government “will raise the local robotics industry as a key future industry through convergence with new technologies, such as artificial intelligence and 5G,” he added.

The government said it will, in particular, be expanding robotics in other areas, such as textile and food and beverage manufacturing.

While Korea is No. 1 in the world in using robots in manufacturing plants, according to the government, the activity has mostly been centered in the electric, electronics and automotive industries.

Over 141,000 robots are used at electric and electronic plants, while 87,417 robots are used at auto plants.

The government said it will first supply 7,560 manufacturing robots to the textile and food and beverage industries while also creating a rental and leasing service that will reduce the burden of purchasing these robots.

It will also be expanding the use of robots in the service sector, which will not only include medical services and logistics but also welfare services, especially taking care of people in need, such as young children, seniors living alone and those with disabilities.

The government said it will invest 400 billion won on both hardware and software development for service robotics starting next year, and plans to invest 300 billion won in research and development that would improve the robotic technologies for service robots to the level of advanced economies.

Another 100 billion won will be used to create a robotic ecosystem, including software development.


BY LEE HO-JEONG [lee.hojeong@joongang.co.kr]

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