The South Korean government will spend US$89.5 million (100 billion won) on robot-related pilot projects to bolster growth of the cutting edge industry, officials said Thursday. The joint support plan outlined by the knowledge economy, education, environment, health and defense ministries calls for state funds to be made available for various projects up till 2013, with 30 billion won to be earmarked for this year.
"Robotics is a high-tech, value-added convergence industry with considerable growth potential that could receive a boost from state assistance," the Ministry of Knowledge Economy said. It pointed out that in the past, the government had limited itself to research and development (R&D), which was not enough to create new market opportunities.
Seoul had allocated US$ 662 million (740 billion won) for R&D in the robotic sector since 2002, but had only spent 10 billion won on related pilot projects that could fuel actual demand. Under the new master plan, government ministries will provide funding for large scale pilot projects worth up to 2 billion won from just 100-200 million won worth of assistance offered in the past.
Pilot projects will involve such areas as education, defense, firefighting, security, manufacturing, farming and medical services, according to the plan.