| The former Lee Myung-bak administration`s 5.7 billion won ($5.6 million) project to check the water quality of the nation`s four refurbished rivers by using robotic fish was a failure, as the machines did not function properly, the state auditor said Wednesday.
The Board of Audit and Inspection (BAI) announced the result of a three-month probe into the project, saying that the results of the robot fish research were exaggerated.
Five organizations, including the Korea Institute of Industrial Technology, developed the robot fish after receiving support from the Korea Research Council for Industrial Science and Technology (ISTK), a government research organization in charge of the project. In August last year, they announced that the project met all seven goals.
According to the state auditor, which tested the devices, however, seven of the nine robot fish malfunctioned and only the other two worked properly. Although the five organizations claimed that the robots achieved the goal of swimming at the speed of 2.5 meters per second, but tests showed that they could go as far as only 23 centimeters per second, the BAI said. The devices also showed a telecommunication distance of 50 meters, just 10 percent of the target distance of 500 meters.
The state auditor demanded that the ISTK to re-evaluate the robot fish project and punish officials in charge of the project for inappropriately spending research funds.