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South Korea Develops Autonomous Drone Navigation Technology

The technology is said to allow UAVs to set an optimized and safe path to a destination without human intervention.

The South Korean Agency for Defense Development (ADD) announced on Tuesday that it has developed a technology that allows unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to reach their destinations while autonomously avoiding threats and obstacles. 

The technology is said to allow UAVs to set an optimized and safe path to a destination without human intervention. To do this, it uses a sensor to collect external information and automatically generate an algorithm for navigation.

“We will continue to develop technologies such as an artificial intelligence-based technology capable of recognizing strategic situations, and an optimization technology for the simultaneous operation of multiple drones,” the agency said.

UAVs and smaller drones that can autonomously reach their destinations have been available for years. However, these vehicles are usually unable to detect, in real time, obstacles such as high-rise buildings and large trees, and navigate around them. To address this, pilots have to set the flight course on a path where hazards or obstacles do not exist.

Military UAVs will have improved survivability during operations and the civilian sector can make use of this technology for applications such as enhanced aerial mobility for drone taxis, the agency stated.

South Korean Drone Ambitions

In April, South Korean Army Chief of Staff Gen. Nam Yeong-shin announced that the army is accelerating efforts to deploy its drone bot combat system early. The drone bot combat unit will use small, swarming UAVs to focus on reconnaissance and surveillance operations. 

“The drone bot combat system will be one of the army’s core capabilities in the future. We will strive further for its early deployment in close cooperation with the government, related industries, and the academic circle,” Nam said.

North Korea was also reported to have successfully tested its own unmanned reconnaissance and attack drones, capable of “precision reconnaissance of areas deep within the frontline” and “precision suicide attacks” on targets.

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