Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Robot Police Project Launched in Korea

By Hwang Si-young

The Korean government announced yesterday it will start developing "robots for social safety" beginning as early as the later this year.

Robots for social safety means robots serving public purposes like public security, night guard, military duties, fire suppression and work at prisons, according to officials of the Ministry of Information and Communication.

A task force, composed of related industry experts and researchers, will first examine the viability of the so-called social safety robotics project in terms of technicality and marketability, hopefully to embark on the project later this year.

Robots functioning like dogs and horses

Further, the MIC, in collaboration with the Ministry of National Defense, plans to develop robots used for loading/unloading processes.

Dubbed literally as "robots functioning like dogs and horses," - dogs and horses in a Chinese phrase signify people who do not spare their efforts - they are currently being developed by the Agency for Defense Development and the Korean state think tank Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute, said Hyung Tae-gun, director-general at the MIC's Information and Communication Policy Bureau.

Development of these six-legged robots, designed to perform dangerous tasks such as walking through minefields, deactivating unexploded bombs or clearing out hostile buildings, will be completed by 2009.

Three billion won (US $3 mil)is earmarked for the loading robotics project this year and 3-4 billion won will be gradually invested during the three-year period 2006-2009, Hyung said.

Also, the MIC reaffirmed yesterday its commitment to develop intelligent robots priced below 1 million won (US $1000)this year.

The definition of intelligent service robots has yet to be made, but will include robots for entertainment, education, home security and household chores.

The Korea Herald : The Nation's No.1 English Newspaper

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