Korea said Thursday it has finalized a five-year master plan to advance the local unmanned vehicle industry.
Under the project, approved by the National Science & Technology Council, the government will concentrate efforts on boosting the development of drones, self-driving cars, unmanned ships and agricultural machines by 2020, according to the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning.
The size of the global unmanned vehicle market came to US$24.8 billion last year. It's expected to grow at the annual average rate of 22 percent to $67.3 billion in 2020, added the ministry.
The government will step up efforts to streamline underperforming state-led R&D programs.
Korea is said to rank 7th in the world in terms of drone technology, but it relies on a lot of imported core equipment.
The key parts of autonomous cars such as cameras and radar also depend on imports.
The government plans to focus on developing "common and combined platform" technologies under the mid-term strategy.
So far, Korea has pushed for the separate development of land, air and maritime unmanned vehicles, which takes more time and money.
Meanwhile, the government has decided to invest 89 billion won into the smart car sector in 2017, up 43.8 percent from 62 billion this year.
It plans to spend 54.2 billion for the development of high-end drones next year, a 30-percent increase from 41.7 billion in 2016. (Yonhap)