Daegu to be the site of the National Robot Test Field Innovation Project
Daegu Metropolitan City (Mayor Kwon Young-jin) announced that the city was selected as the site for the “National Robot Test Field Innovation Project” (result announced on August 13, 2021).
An Aerial View of the Robot Test Field
Daegu’s proposed site (Technopolis) was selected as the finalist after a fierce competition between six metropolises and provinces—Seoul, Busan, Daegu, Gwangju, Gyeongsangnam-do, and Chungcheongnam-do.
The National Robot Test Field Innovation Project is a large-scale national project that aims to promote the creation of the robot market and commercialization through the establishment of a certification system for the regulatory innovation of service robots as well as the establishment of a real environment-based infrastructure. The project will be carried out over the course of seven years from 2023 to 2028 with a total funding of KRW 300 billion, which will be used for the construction of a robot data center and test field (KRW 160 billion), and the development of common base technology for service robots (KRW 140 billion).
Once the national robot test field is established in Daegu, the city will stand tall as the center of the robotics industry as it would support the entire cycle of robotics companies from research and development (Korea Institute for Robot Industry Advancement, Korea Institute of Robotics and Technology Convergence, Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science and Technology, Daegu Mechatronics and Materials Institute, etc.) to demonstration and regulatory improvement (5G-based advanced manufacturing robot demonstration and regulation free zone); test bed (National Robot Test Field); and commercialization support (Korea Institute for Robot Industry Advancement and Daegu Mechatronics and Materials Institute).
Daegu seems to have received good scores to be selected as a finalist for the project, as the city has been continuously working to foster the robot industry by establishing infrastructure and creating a robotics industry ecosystem. Daegu has successfully attracted the Korea Institute for Robot Industry Advancement (2010); created a robotics industry cluster (2012 to 2017); attracted Hyundai Robotics (2017); established the Global Robot Cluster (GRC) and attracted its secretariat office (2018). It is also in the process of constructing a 5G-based advanced manufacturing robot demonstration center (2020 to 2023) as well as the Mobile Cobot Regulation-Free Zone (began in July 2020). Moreover, the city has been using its own funding for projects, such as the Project for the Creation of the Robotics Industry Market and the Strengthening of Component Competitiveness (2015 to 2019; KRW 18.8 billion), as well as the Robot Industry Value Chain Expansion and Win-Win System Construction Project (2020 to 2024; KRW 267 billion).
To win the National Robot Test Field Innovation Project, Daegu collaborated with companies, universities, and research institutes by organizing a planning committee led by Hong Ui-rak, the city’s Vice Mayor for Economic Affairs, and designing a plan to attract the test field with experts from the Daegu Gyeongbuk Development Institute, Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science and Technology, Daegu Machinery & Parts Research Institute, Daegu Digital Industry Promotion Agency, and Daegu Gyeongbuk Design Center with active cooperation from the Korea Land and Housing Corporation and the Daegu-Gyeongbuk Free Economic Zone Authority.
In addition, the participation and cooperation of more than 360 robot-related companies and organizations such as AJINEXTEK and Hyundai Robotics, which contributed KRWW 5 billion, along with the full support of Gyeongsangbuk-do and the contribution of KRW 2 billion in local expenses from Dalseong-gun proved to be significant support in Daegu’s plan to attract the test field.
Moreover, the local politicians’ quick political response, support from the Daegu City Council, and local media outlets’ voices on the need for attracting the test field to the region for balanced regional development also played a part.
For the vitalization of the national robot test field and the advancement of the service robot industry, Daegu plans to use the new Daegu City Hall building and the special urban convergence zone, which are currently under construction, as real-environment test fields for robotics, autonomous driving, and AI technologies, and also discover new service robot business models through service robot demonstration contests.
Daegu will also actively provide support to create fruitful outcomes by strengthening the cooperative ecosystem for large, small, and medium-sized robotics companies in downstream and upstream sectors, centered on anchor companies such as Hyundai Robotics, to supporting local companies to enter the service robot industry, and also by continuing to expand the GRC to attract foreign companies in Korea and also help Korean enterprises to enter the foreign market.
Daegu hopes to grow into a leading city in the robotics industry where humans and robots coexist, with 662 local robotics companies, 11,799 jobs, and KRW 4.1 trillion in sales by 2030.
Daegu Mayor Kwon Young-jin remarked, “Winning the National Robot Test Field Innovation Project was possible through Daegu’s strong will to foster the robotics industry and our continuous efforts to create a robotics industry ecosystem. It means that we should work harder on the development of the robotics industry in the future.
I feel a great responsibility for this recognition and encouragement at the national level, and we will do our best to contribute to the development of the national robotics industry through mutual cooperation with Gyeongsangbuk-do.”