SEOUL, Jan. 15 (Korea Bizwire) – On January 13 in Gwanghwamun Square located in the heart of Seoul, pedestrians were treated to a peculiar sight: a drone buzzing through the air with the Olympic torch perched on its back.
This unusual sight was also an unprecedented one, as this particular drone that was honored with its sacred burden was the first UAV to be flown at night since the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport introduced an approval system dictating nighttime flights last November.
Drone operators who wish to launch their devices on journeys during the latter half of the day or on long-distance trips must pass an inspection that includes among the criteria safety requirements, operating difficulty, analysis of the environment the drone intends to pass through.
Countries like the United States likewise permit the operation of drones during nocturnal hours or outside of the pilot’s field of vision on a restrictive basis.
On Saturday night, Octo Copter, a drone weighing 11 kg and measuring 110x110x91 cm, began its brief “run” starting from the 40th Anniversary Monument to King Gojong’s Enthronement and flew the 150 m distance to KT’s Gwanghwamun Square building in roughly three minutes.
While Octo Copter was busy being the center of attention, another drone was equally preoccupied playing the role of photographer, film recorder and internet provider.
A 4 kg drone circled the statue of Admiral Yi Sun-shin for twenty minutes as it diligently filmed each participant in the Olympic torch relay as well as the crowd in attendance. This drone with its fifth-generation internet network also provided Wi-Fi to the onlookers below.
In case of an emergency, the organizers placed 20 crowd control personnel, three drone technology experts and medical staff on-site.
The drones are noteworthy for being, from top-to-bottom, 100 percent Korean made. The organizers said their performance was evidence that South Korean drone technology stands shoulder to shoulder with the capabilities of other nations.
The drone industry is growing at a roaring pace. In South Korea, 1,722 drones were supplied to buyers last year, a 79.3 percent increase from the previous year. The growth in the number of drone pilots was even more drastic, with 2,928 registered last year, 220.8 percent more than the year prior. Meanwhile, the number of firms in the drone industry increased by 45.7 percent.