Korea aims to actualize one of the three intelligent robotics technology powers in the world by 2013. Concretely speaking, the intelligent robot industry's vision will be materialized through Robot Convergence which creates diverse innovation products, Robotopia which will be realized with the best industry environment construction, and Robot Testbed Country which spearheads world market.
"I believe that in such a circumstance, it is possible for the robot industry to serve as an industry to lead export industry as the second semiconductor myth," said Managing Director Kim Hong-seok, PhD, Center for Intelligent Robot (http://intelligentrobot.org) during an exclusive interview with the Korea IT Times.
First off, he explained: "Korea's IT infrastructure is excellent and the national traits also are dynamic as can be seen through Internet's dissemination or explosive cellular phone's unprecedented spread in the world."
In that regard, Kim said that providing we strive a little more, Korea will become a robot test bed country and emerge as a leading robot power. About the significance of intelligent robot industry, the Managing Director noted: "Intelligent robots are the future STAR industry, and cutting-edge technology's complex body whose technological ripple effect into other fields is great, and a society stabilization tool such as life's quality improvement or welfare society actualization." Nevertheless, he points out that till the present, robot technology has not yet been perfected. So actually there are many differences between the reality of robots and its image, Kim said. Robots still have a long way to go, primarily for them to move autonomously. In a word, today's level of robot can't take hold of materials, he explained. The Managing Director forecast, "It will take 30 to 40 years for working robots to be actualized."
The Center for Intelligent Robots carries out a total of 7 technology development projects. These are intelligent robot systems for cutting-edge manufacturing, robot platforms for home use and smart robot environments; a disaster conquest and lifesaving robot; personal robot groundwork; healthcare robot; and social safety robots. This is all done with a working expense of 48.5 billion won (US$53 million), according to Kim.
Besides, comprehensive support system construction for the sake of groundwork formation of intelligent robot industry and next-generation intelligent robot manpower nurturing project are being propelled. Participation organs reach to a total of 76 institutions including 10 large enterprises, 41 SMEs, 18 universities, and 6 laboratories. As regarding its propulsion outcome, the Center for Intelligent Robot has gained product 75 kinds, sales 39.9 billion won (US$44 million), 132 patents, and 244 papers as of December 2006.
As a bottleneck in carrying out such technology development projects, Kim named short budget problem as the biggest bottleneck. With regard to Korea's robot industry structure, he insisted: "Large enterprises need to lead robot market," adding that Korea's robot industry structure holds large company-oriented in the case of robot for manufacturing and SMEs or venture start-up centered polarization structure in the case of service robot.
By beefing up technology development capacity for the Killer Application creation, by creating initial market for the industrialization facilitation, and by enlarging industrialization groundwork, he has committed that the Center for Intelligent Robot will nurture intelligent robot industry as a growth engine to haul national economy.