The government of South Korea is currently hard at work building the world's first robotic theme park. Scheduled to open in 2016, the theme park of the future (called Robot Land) will be located in Incheon, just west of the capital Seoul. I'll be completely honest with you guys: this place looks bloody incredible, and I think I might just want to make vacation plans for 2016 that involve paying it a visit.
Robot Land's going to have pretty much everything one might expect of a theme park, and then some. There'll be water parks and roller-coasters, tons of food, and a games center. There'll also be an overpriced gift shop - because what theme park is complete without one?
Of course, the park's going to offer a whole lot more on top of that. There'll be a robot aquarium filled with mechanical simulacra of real-world sea creatures. There'll be a robot games arena where attendees can pit bots against one another. There'll even be facilities to let people build their own robots, along with a research and development center designed to further robotics research in the region. I've gotta say, I'm a little jealous of whatever scientists end up working there - who wouldn't want to work at a place like that?
Now, full disclosure here- Robot Land isn't exactly new. The project was originally announced way back in 2007, but ended up having to be put on hold while environmental reviews were performed on the region where it was situated. Probably something about an endangered species of plant in the region or something. The important thing is that it's still happening, and that's awesome.
The whole project will be developed jointly between the private and public sectors, for a total of somewhere around $625 million. On completion, Robot Land will occupy over 300 acres of land. The best part, though? All the stuff I mentioned here is just phase one. Phase Two - which is slated to begin in 2016 and reach completion in 2018 - involves the development of hotels and condominiums.
Korea's robotics industry is one of the most rapidly expanding in the world, enjoying a 35% annual growth rate. It's slated to reach around $500 billion USD by 2020; the Korean government by then hopes to have a robot in every household. Masan Robot Land is designed to help make this happen, and those involved with the project hopes that it'll increase large-scale consumer demand for intelligent robotics when it opens.
Another hope for the project is that it'll have a positive influence on the Robot Business Belt Project, a huge undertaking that's being studied for feasibility by the Ministry of Knowledge Economy.
"With the successful commencement of the Robot Land Project, the theme park is confirmed for next January and the actual construction will finally begin in September," said Mr. Shin Jong-woo, director of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Bureau of Changwon City. "We expect a significant economic boost and increase in job opportunities with the Masan Robot Land Project and are looking forward to seeing a joint development of the robotics industry and tourism."
So, yeah. There you have it. Over in South Korea, they're building what basically amounts to the world's first robotic city. All I can say is that I know what I'm doing come 2016, and I'm rather looking forward to going back to South Korea.