South Korea has opened its first robot development institute as part of efforts to become a global leader in the key, future-oriented industry, the government said on Monday.
The new state run Korea Institute for Robot Industry Advancement (KIRIA) in Daegu, 302 kilometers southeast of Seoul, is expected to lay the foundation for building up the local robotics industry, the Ministry of Knowledge Economy said.
It said the institute will take charge of all government led research projects and establish industrial support policies so that South Korea gains an edge in the robotics field, which has the potential to change both the business sector and everyday lives.
"KIRIA's establishment is in line with the passage of the robot industry development act passed by parliament in 2008 and government plans announced in April last year that call for trillions of won to be invested into this sector until 2013," a ministry official said.
This plan aims to allow South Korea to grab at least 13.3 per cent of the worldwide market for robots by 2013, with exports topping $1 billion. This will place it in the top three countries, along with Japan and the United States.
As of last year, South Korea's global market stood at 8.9 per cent, with exports hitting $180 million, which put it in fifth place after industry leaders Japan, the US, Germany and Italy.
The institute will initially be staffed by 20 personnel, but will be built up in the coming months so it can coordinate development, fuel commercial use and support research and development.
The institute will be headed by Joo Dong-young, who headed both the Korea Institute of Industrial Technology and the Korean Agency for Technology and Standards.