South Korean town to open regulation-free drone park

South Korean drone park

A popular vacation destination near South Korean capital Seoul is preparing to open what local news reports describe as the nation’s largest drone park, offering enthusiasts and systems developers alike a regulation-free space for operating UAVs.

According to a report in the Aju Business Daily, a ceremony was held on Tuesday on the grounds of the $8 million project, which officials hope to open next March as the UV Land drone complex. The facility is located in Taean, a popular tourism area about 68 miles southwest of Seoul. The region was designated by the South Korean government in 2020 to create parks where private drone pilots, businesses, and other sector participants can pilot craft in a regulation-free setting. 

The resulting UV Land – which South Korean reports refer to as a “drone theme park” – is the first of those efforts to establish specific environments when a wide variety of UAV operations can be conducted without the usual constraints.

Regulations on drones tend to be fairly tight across South Korea, particularly in urban areas where both safety and privacy concerns restrict or completely ban flights. Despite that, furtive outings outside the rules are not infrequent. In the first seven months of this year alone, Aju Business Daily says, around 170 instances of unauthorized drones were detected in the restricted airspace around Seoul’s Incheon International Airport. 

UV Land and other reg-free spaces that are expected to follow are one way of offering UAV pilots a place to take wing as they wish – while also drawing them away from areas where their illicit flights risk creating trouble.

The facility features a multi-purpose building that permits indoor flights, and offers controlled spaces for developers. The park also sports a 400-meter runway, and a 4,000-square-meter field to allowing outdoor navigation – and affording sufficient space between controller-wielding pilots.

Structured activities will also be organized at UV Land, including formal drone training and demonstration events organized by a private university that runs a specialized aviation program.

The objective of the effort is obviously to create spaces where people can indulge in their arial passions without taking the legal or safety risks of doing so in cities and towns. But in addition to that enthusiast and tourism focus, Taean officials are also looking to exploit the area’s regulation-free status to draw business and research activities from South Korea’s rapidly developing drone industry.

“We will bring drone-related companies and organizations to UV Land to create new job opportunities,” Taean Mayor Ka Se-ro reportedly said. “We will also operate various programs to become a city specialized in drone-related industry and tourism.” 

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