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In recent years the application of UAV has expanded rapidly to the private sector, such as transportation, logistics, rescue, communication, aerial photography, agriculture and surveillance. It is also expected to lead the future growth of the aerospace market. According to the aerospace and defense consulting company Teal Group, the UAV market is expected to grow to US$ 12.5 billion by 2023, of which US$ 880 million will be for civilian use, posting a high annual average growth rate of 35%.
Although the developed countries had previously dominated the UAV market over the years, emerging companies and enterprises have entered the market, gradually transforming it into an intensely competitive structure.
Chinese UAV manufacturers have recently enjoyed rapid growth, while IT giants such as Google and Amazon, and startups targeting the niche market for miniature drones have entered the heated market competition.
Ranked global no. 7 in terms of UAV technology competitiveness, Korea’s goal is to enter the top 5 by 2023 and the top 3 by 2027.
01Futuristic Optionally Piloted Personal Air Vehicle (OPPAV)
The Korea Aerospace Research Institute along with a domestic company is developing a flight test airplane and core technologies for futuristic verification of OPPAVs (Optionally Piloted Personal Air Vehicle) that enable vertical takeoff and landing while using electric power.
The futuristic OPPAV is a highly valuable technology in that it can be directly applied to the flight platform in the era of personal aircraft which will bring 3D transportation innovation in the future.
KARI has developed the quad tilt prop UAV (QTP-UAV) that capable of vertical take off and landing and high speed flight. It uses the electric distributed propulsion consisting of multiple motors and props. The QTP-UAV has four props positioned vertically during take-off or landing and tilted horizontally during the cruise to fly with high speed. The original technology obtained through the development of the QTP-UAV can be applied to personal air vehicles for vertical take-off and landing, which will be an innovative transportation concept of the future.
03Disaster and Public Safety Multicopter (DPSM)
KARI is developing the DPSM for effective response and collecting information from disasters. This development includes multicopter’s common platforms, ground control system, operation & management system, communication systems, safety flight systems and specialized mission equipment.
DPSM has specialized design and flight performance for disaster and public safety environments. And it can support missions from fire agency, coast guard, and police as rapid initial response, collecting information and real-time monitoring.
04Low-Altitude UAS Traffic Management (UTM) System
The system is to manage the traffic of small drones (not exceeding 25 kg total weight) to have them fly safely and efficiently at low altitudes of 150 m or below. KARI is leading in-depth research with industry and academia partners on integrated drone traffic management by conceptualizing the operation of UTM System, implementing and testing it with a nationwide network. UTM can be utilized by the fundamental research for the safety of higher-density air traffic of the future such as unmanned aircraft, manned auto-piloted aircraft, or urban air mobility (UAM). It can also be utilized for improving the utilization of drones while keeping the flight safety of manned air traffics.
05Tilt Duct UAV
The UAV whose propeller is covered with a duct can generate up to 60% of the propulsion efficiency of UAV without a duct. It can fly for 1 2 1/2 hours or longer at maximum speed of 150 km/h.
Since the tilt duct UAV can operate in areas where there is no runway, it can be applied for vertically taking off and landing personal air vehicle technology. It is also expected to be applied to a wide range of areas such as disaster control, military, vehicle tracking, and remote diagnosis of energy facilities and large structures.
|Total Weight (kg)||40||20|
|Max. Speed (km/h)||170||150|
|Flight duration (hrs)||2.5||1|
06UAV Collision Avoidance System
The system determines the risk of air collision to help UAVs avoid them. KARI is developing the collision avoidance system based on the collision avoidance algorithm, automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B), and image sensors. The Institute confirmed the performance through the ground test and flight test and planned to advance the system performance through the continuous flight test. The UAV collision avoidance system can prevent an aerial collision when UAVs and manned air vehicles operate together in the public space.
OPV stands for Optional Piloted Vehicle. KARI has developed the technology for converting a manned air vehicle into OPV.
An OPV is ideal for the flight testing of aviation parts since it can perform repetitive operations. Old military aircraft that are no longer practical can be converted for use as firing target and radar station target or as OPV for search and reconnaissance during a disaster. The OPV research outcome was selected as one of the top 10 mechanical technologies by the Korean Federation of Mechanical Engineering Societies in 2014.
08High-Altitude Long-Endurance Electrical Air Vehicle (EAV)
The UAV can fly on solar energy alone at high altitude where the air is scarce. The stratosphere is ideal for missions like ground observation, meteorological observation, and communication relay since it is feasible to use sunlight as power source because the wind speed is low, and a EAV can fly regardless of the weather. Moreover, the stratosphere at an altitude of 18 km or higher is very practical since it can fly according to the order by the ground controller and the operator’s plan without a specified route. It successfully flew at maximum altitude of 18.5 km in 2016. It was the world‘s third vehicle to fly at an altitude of higher than 18 km, following the United Kingdom and the United States.
09High-Velocity, Vertical Takeoff, and Landing UAV
The tilt-rotor aircraft can take off and land vertically and fly at high speed. KARI developed the tilt-rotor aircraft for over 10 years beginning 2002. It was the world’s second tilt-rotor aircraft after the US and the world’s first tilt-rotor UAV. Its capability to take off and land vertically makes it suitable for the domestic environment wherein it is difficult to secure the runway because of the mountainous terrain.
The state-of-the-art technology is applicable to personal aerial vehicles (PAV) capable of coast and island reconnaissance, forest fire and traffic surveillance, and weather observations and can be used as the transport means from home without a runway.
KARI has developed TR-60, a practical model based on the smart unmanned air vehicle TR-100, and enhanced the performance of the tilt-rotor UAV such as flight duration, navigation distance, and maximum speed. The Institute also completed the development of the technology to take off and land vertically on a mobile object such as vehicle and ship.
|Max. Takeoff Weight (kg)||995||200|
|Max. Speed (km/h)||500||240|
|Flight Duration (hrs)||5||5|
|Operating Radius (km)||200||50|
10Automatic Takeoff and Landing of Tilt-Rotor UAV from a Ship
This technology enables tilt-rotor UAVs to take off and land automatically on a moving and shaking ship. KARI retrofitted the land-use tilt-rotor UAV for deep-sea fishing, fishery detection, and monitoring of illegal fishing and maritime safety. The Institute developed the RTK (Real-Time Kinematics) GPS-based precision relative navigation system that provides cm-level precision for calculating the precise relative distance between the landing point of the moving ship and the aircraft. It performed automatic takeoff and landing on a coast guard ship moving at 10 knots for 10 consecutive times and it was the world’s first automatic takeoff and landing of a tilt-rotor UAV on a ship.
11Core Technology for Small Long-Endurance UAV (Durumi)
Durumi is a small UAV developed for low-cost aerial observation and exploration. All components except the engine communication equipment were developed in Korea, and KARI jointly conducted meteorological observation with the National Institute of Meteorological Sciences to demonstrate the application of UAV in the meteorological field. The experience of researching and developing the UAV system accumulated by the development of the small long-endurance UAV has been the basis for the development of the high-speed, vertical takeoff and landing UAV.
12Ground Observation UAV for the 1993 Expo
KARI developed the aircraft for the 1993 Expo held in Daejeon. The aircraft had the mission of monitoring the Expo from the air. The development of the ground observation UAV has led to the development of various UAV technologies such as airship design and manufacturing technology and wireless communications technology for the remote control of airships.