The Blooming Drone Business: South Korea’s Leadership and Policy Must Catch Up

Last week, the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) presented the guidelines applicable for the commercial use of unmanned aircrafts, or drones. In the case of licensed pilots operating drones within eye view for commercial use, the maximum altitude is 500 feet (152.4 meters). Though introducing long-distance parcel delivery services may be difficult, these drones can give birth to new ventures, including crop-field management, airline surveillance, skyscraper management and much more. The FAA has been easing up regulations on commercial use of drones. For the next three years, they predict a 15 trillion won ($13.6 trillion) infusion into the economy and the creation of up to 70,000 new jobs.

The absence of regulations for personal and leisure use of drones is leading to rapidly increasing sales in the U.S. From March of 2014, Ebay alone has sold over 127,000 drones. The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) predicts for this year a 55 percent increase in the number of drones sold from 400,000 to the scale of 140 billion won ($127.1 million). Including the military use of drones, the global market for drones is predicted to grow from 7 trillion won ($6.3 billion) last year to 100 trillion won ($90 billion) over the next 10 years, rivaling the scale of the global TV market. Due to technological developments and the easing of regulations, the drone business is now ready to bloom.

South Korea’s drone technology is rated in the top five in the world along with the U.S., Israel, the United Kingdom and France. It seems that the foundation and application of this technology has been secured in South Korea. Though Samsung and LG state they are ready to jump into the market, commercial success of drones is still difficult to find. Similar to how the U.S. recently announced guidelines for the commercial use of drones, with lobbyist and government support we too can stand shoulder to shoulder with these developed countries in competition for the drone market.

First, since drone policies are scattered between the Ministry of Land, Transportation and Maritime Affairs, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, and the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning, a singular control tower for drones must be made. In addition, regulations regarding safety and privacy must clearly be formed. This way, business can jump into the market without having to fear retroactive regulations. Though there may be restricted areas, especially near military or airport facilities, a roadmap leading to the liberal use of drones in most areas is needed.

About this publication

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply