Back in 2009, the South Korean government publicized plans for a robot theme park slated to open in 2012, but it never took shape. Now the Masan Robot Land Park is resuscitating plans by breaking ground on a billion-dollar robot-centric project, which (oddly, and ambitiously) hopes to be Earth’s first robot city.
So what is a robot city, anyway? South Korean officials envisioned this as a hybrid theme park and research park. In the initial stages of construction, they plan to build a robot-themed amusement park, dubbed “Robot Land.” The rest of the park, set for completion a year later in 2016, will house a convention center, a robot research and development center, and a robot exhibition hall.
The entire robot endeavor is going to be completed by 2018 (for real, this time) and will be comprised of both public and private investments. Reportedly private and public contributors in the U.S. already gave the project $1.23 billion for construction. The second stage of construction will include hotels, condos, youth hostels, and a giant robot statue across the sprawling 300 acres of land purchased for Masan Park.
The concept images of the project have slightly altered from the 2007 mockup to a more current 2009 photo. They have removed the flashy Ferris wheel, however roller coasters and a monorail are still in the picture. With such high expectations, it will be interesting to see if the South Korean government can follow through with their deadlines this time and deliver.
Korea’s Ministry of Commerce, Industry & Energy has been working on the project since 2007 as a motivator to improve and generate interest in Korea’s robotic industry. However, environmental reviews thwarted the project’s progress until now.