S. Korea to demonstrate drone at east coast for management of navigational beacons

By Kim Joo-heon Posted : November 26, 2021, 14:48 Updated : November 26, 2021, 14:48

[Courtesy of Donghae Regional Maritime Affairs & Port Office]

SEOUL -- To reduce the risks of safety accidents on the sea, an ultra-light drone will be used along the eastern coastline of South Korea to inspect and manage navigational beacons. Through the adoption of the all-weather drone, the country will establish infrastructure for the effective management of maritime road signs so that fishermen can work safely.
Drones are remotely controlled flying robots equipped with optical equipment such as a camera and radar. Drones are widely used by South Korea's military and government organizations for monitoring and surveillance. Navigational beacons, also known as buoys, are floating structures that can emit light during the night to mark maritime pathways near the shoreline. Some buoys play the role of maritime streetlights to guide lost boats to a nearby port. 
According to Donghae Regional Maritime Affairs & Port Office, an affiliated agency of South Korea's maritime ministry, on November 26, the new drone will be demonstrated in the first half of 2022 to replace human inspectors who were in charge of lighthouses and navigational beacons installed on offshore reefs or submerged breakwaters. Such places are difficult to access depending on weather conditions. The drone will inspect buoys along the east coast that is about 438 kilometers (272 miles) long.
"It will cost us about 10 million won ($8,379) to purchase parts and assemble an inspector drone," Seol Seong-soo, an official from the maritime affair office, told Aju Business Daily. Because the new drone can monitor navigational beacons in all weather conditions, it can also be used for managing facilities and investigating storm damages. The new drone can stay in the air for up to 60 minutes and its payload will be more than up to 5 kilograms. 
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