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Asia's largest drone show kicks off in Busan

All News 15:57 January 28, 2016

BUSAN, Jan. 28 (Yonhap) -- Asia's largest drone festival opened on Thursday in Busan for a three-day run to show a variety of drones ranging from light unmanned aerial vehicles to toy drones.

Some 56 companies from four countries participated in Drone Show Korea 2016, the largest of its scale in Asia and the first such event being held in South Korea.

The exhibition now being held at BEXCO exhibition center in this southern port city features fixed-wing drones that look like airplanes and other UAVs for public and civilian use.

Another type of rotorcraft is the quadrotor or quadcopter that most search and rescue teams use to assess damage.

One of Korea's key technologies now showing is the tiltrotor drone. Tiltrotor drones are capable of vertical takeoffs and landings like helicopters, but can shift their wings to fly like airplanes.

The Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI) and Korean Air worked together to develop the tiltrotor "KUS-VT" drone.

The Korea Electronics Technology Institute exhibits new drone technology in the combination of a drone and the Internet of Things (IoT), which refers to a communication network among various objects through the Internet.

China's DJI, one of the world's largest drone manufacturers, shows its newest drone during the Busan exhibition, which is being held under the auspices of the commerce ministry and Busan municipal city.

An official from the exhibition center said that drone markets will heat up in the future, with countries around the globe racing to roll out better performing unmanned aerial vehicles.

On the military front, the Daejeon-based Agency for Defense Development (ADD) began delving into drone technology in the late 1970s, seeking to introduce a miniature air launch decoy codenamed Solgae (black-eared kite) with technical assistance from the U.K.

In 2000, the ADD and Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) launched the country's first homegrown UAV -- nicknamed the Songgolmae, RQ-101 or Night Intruder-300 -- and its deployment started two years later.

State-run think tanks and defense companies have since continued to study key technologies, including those for autonomous takeoff and landing, multiple drone control and collision detection and avoidance.

Currently, the ADD with KAI and Korean Air are respectively carrying out projects to develop division-scale UAVs.

Another major prospective program is underway by state-funded KAI and the national flag carrier, which has in recent years been expanding its forays into aircraft manufacturing, for a Predator-like surveillance and reconnaissance drone called the KUS-15.

They have already completed development of a "smart, next-generation" UAV system consisting of tilt-rotor air vehicles capable of vertical takeoff and landing and sending real-time imagery information from distant places at all hours.

But in Korea, most of the drones sold are for industrial use, or for rescue missions or fighting fires. As a result, Korea's drone market is worth only about 10 billion won ($8.28 million), which is 0.5 percent of the total global market, according to drone industry sources.
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