South Korean CiLab leads underwater drone technology

기사승인 2020.11.23  14:50:19

▲ CiLab / CEO Hwang Yo-sup

Drone is one of the emerging gadgets of future industries. This manless flying object is replacing human's job in the field of agriculture, delivery, aerial filming and many more. American defence industry consulting firm Teal Group estimated the global drone industry would grow by yearly 8% until 2020, worth 11.4 billion USD. While many people perceive drones float in the air, some companies make underwater drones. 

Established in July 2017, South Korean company CiLab has been proving its capability in manufacturing underwater equipment. Two of electronic engineering doctors of CiLab boast more than 15 years of expertise in robot research, development and commercialization. CiLab has gained steady recognition in underwater robot, sensor and parts for both industry and education. CiLab's move is encouraging in the fact that it is reducing South Korea's overseas dependency with persistent endeavor in localizing the parts and equipment. 

Underwater Drones
CiLab's underwater drones are made with both wire and wireless components. They are controlled overground to carry out filming, measuring and collecting which are hard to get it done by physical ability of man. The outer aluminium material lets the drones down to 100 meters underwater and the inner cameras, backed up by LED lights, make clean shot and filming possible. The attachable battery lasts up to 2 hours and the IMU sensor calculates tidal current. Parts, such as the body, cameras and propellers, are easily attached and detached for convenience and portability. Users can connect the drones to their PC, labtop or tablet to control. 

CiLab CEO Hwang Yo-sup worked at Pusan National University Navigation/Localization Research Center. Securing a support from the Ministry of SMEs and Startups in 2017, he gathered masters and doctors with the same mind to launch CiLab. Back then, underwater drones were new to many and doubts were popped up here and there. Nevertheless, Hwang and his team pushed it forward and after three years have made a strong presence in the field. CiLab has obtained 3 KC marks, 1 ISO, 29 intellectual properties and numerous patents. October this year, CiLab received a ministerial prize from Ministry of SMEs and Startups at the 24th Gyeongnam SME Awards in the category of the venture and startup, followed by the 15th Digital Innovation Awards. Prior to this, the company listed name in the 2019 Innovative Korean & Power Korea Awards and 2019 Korea Power Leader Awards. 

The Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries is running 'marine operative vehicle equipment 4.0 project' in an effort to promote domestically made manless underwater equipment as the existing imported parts and equipment cost an arm and a leg in repair and maintenance. Grasping the opportunity, CiLab is ambitious to introduce 100% domestically made highend amphibious drones. CEO Hwang targets 5 billion won (439,212 USD) sales this year, anticipates 10 billion won order next year, and plans to secure a 330 square big factory in Yangsan City to be used as the springboard to go global over Korea.

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