Rescue robots get government support


The Korean government has pledged support for the development of rescue robotic technologies by setting a goal of commercialization by 2022. The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE) said Monday it is reviewing the “public safety robot project” to see if it is viable. The project will focus on developing core technologies related to the rescue robots. Once the project gets the green light, it will support development of various technologies including sensors that operate even in thick smoke, as well as crawler systems.

These technologies will be used in disaster situations such as rescuing people under debris, detecting stranded people in smoke-filled buildings that are on fire, or surveillance of nuclear power plants. Related industries are expected to grow significantly. Citing a study by Homeland Security Search Corporation, the ministry said the world’s disaster rescue industry is expected to double from 372 trillion won ($338 billion) in 2013 to 612 trillion won in 2022. China alone is expected see its market expand from 57 trillion won to 140 trillion won during the same period.

For full article, see Jongang Daily.


State power companies get cybersecurity orders

2015_02_cybersecurityThe Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE) says state-run power companies will spend a total of 79 billion won ($71 million) on cybersecurity this year, an increase of 18 billion won. Minister Yoon Sang-jick on Thursday afternoon met with CEOs of 17 state-run energy companies, including the Korea Electric Power Corporation (Kepco), Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power Corporation (KHNP) and Korea Power Exchange.

Kepco, the nation’s sole power distributor, will get 28.4 billion won and KHNP 11.5 billion won. Each of the other companies will receive up to 4 billion won. The budget will be mostly spent on hiring security experts, maintaining internal network infrastructure and expanding maintenance teams. All 17 power companies will have to structure their internal network in five systems, from the current three.

The current system is broken down into a regular network that can access the Internet, an intranet that mainly deals with document processing, and an exclusive network to control the power plant. From now on, the intranet will have an additional system for confidential technical documents like power plant blueprints. The power plant control system will also be split into two networks to beef up security.

For full article, see Joongang Daily.


Korea to inject 75 million USD to develop domestic titanium industry

Korea will inject 81.8 billion won ($75.5 million) into developing a domestic titanium parts and material industry that can make components for aircrafts, medical implant applications and industrial plants, the government said Tuesday. The seven-year plan includes the government providing 60.3 billion won in support with the rest of the money coming from private companies, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said. For this year, 9.5 billion won has been set aside in the state budget to support the project, it said.

Titanium, a low-density, high-strength metal, was first developed on a mass scale for military use. It is stronger than steel, light and highly corrosion resistant, although it costs more and is more scarce and harder to manufacture than steel. Even before the industry is fully developed, demand for heat exchange parts in desalination plants, steam turbine blades used in various power generating facilities and medical implants could create a 317 billion won market, the ministry said. Titanium parts can also be used in South Korea’s next generation fighter project. The material is used on the leading edges of wings in many aircraft.

For full article, see Korea Herald.

Korea to invest $400 mln in development of new growth engines

South Korea will invest over US$400 million this year to help develop new and indigenous products and technologies that will help boost the country’s economy and exports, the government said Tuesday. The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said the government seeks to develop 13 new industrial growth engines that include smart wearable devices, self-driving vehicles and a high-speed unmanned aerial vehicle that can take off and land vertically.  For their development, the government will invest 254.8 billion won, or about $230 million, this year with an additional 194 billion won earmarked for the commercialization of the new growth engines.

“The ministry will soon launch the so-called stepping-stone project that will allow early commercialization of products that are made available as an interim outcome of the development program,” it said in a press release. The program aims to help secure new growth engines for the future but also help advance and diversify the country’s export items.

For full article, see Yonhap News.


10,000 plants to become ‘smart’ by 2020, private – government to invest KRW 1 trillion

The government, through private – public joint effort, will promote a project to intellectualize and optimize entire production processes in 10,000 plants of small and medium-scale manufacturing companies by 2020 with an investment of KRW 1 trillion. The goal is to foster the three soft powers of manufacturing industry, which are engineering, design and embedded software, into new innovation industry to continue on the success of materials and parts industry.

On the 26th, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MoTIE) announced ‘Manufacturing Industry Innovation 3.0 Strategy for Creative Economy’ at a talk in Cheong Wa Dae with chairmen from the Chambers of Commerce across the country invited by President Park Geun-hye.

“As convergence between manufacturing industry and IT, software, service and other industries spreads throughout the world, new production methods, such as 3D printing and smart plant, are coming up to the surface,” said Trade, Industry and Energy Minister Yoon Sang-jick. “To respond to this trend, we need to change our strategy from pursuing to leading the advanced countries and promote evolution of Korea’s manufacturing industry.”

For full article, see Korea IT News.

Korea IT sector breaks records in exports, trade surplus in May

South Korea logged its largest ever exports and trade surplus in the IT sector last month. The Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning (MSIP) and Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE) said last Sunday the IT sector posted exports of $15.15 billion and a trade surplus of $8.27 billion in May, according to Yonhap News.

The exports jumped 17.2 percent year-on-year (yoy) and trade surplus 23.6 percent to break fresh monthly all-time highs. The previous monthly record exports in the IT sector stood at $14.54 billion in October last year and that of trade surplus at $7.84 billion in November in the same year.

The recent booming exports pushed the combined exports and trade surplus between January and May this year to record-highs of $67.97 billion and $35.07 billion respectively.

For full article, see Maeil Business.

Korean government may raise share of renewable energy in national energy action plan

The South Korean administration under the leadership of President Park Geun-hye will be presenting an outline of its second national energy action plan in August this year.  The national action plan is the highest-level plan that sets out energy policies for the next five years in consideration of the following two decades. The second version will publicize the share of nuclear power generation out of total energy mix for the first time, which has recently emerged as a hot potato issue.

“A working-level group will be created this month to develop the second national energy action plan,” said a senior official at the Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Energy (MOTIE). The outline is drawing keen attention from the power generation industry and environmental groups as it reveals the government’s stance on running nuclear power plants over the mid to long-term.

The government had said in its first action plan it would raise the share of nuclear power to 59 percent of the nation’s total energy mix by 2030. The government had concluded nuclear power is the realistic alternative to support green growth of promoting economy and reducing carbon emissions. To achieve the goal, the government had aimed to build a total of 40 nuclear power plants by 2030. Nuclear power accounted for 29.8 percent of total power generation last year, and thus the government has to construct far more nuclear power plants to fulfill its initial goal.

For full article, see Maeil Business.