A public-private consultation company, which includes Hyundai Motor Group, has been set up in South Korea to help develop and commercialize drone taxis in the country by 2025.
As reported in Aju Business Daily, the launch of ‘Urban Air Mobility Team Korea’ also features Hanwha Systems, Korean Air, SK Telecom and Doosan Mobility Solutions, and is under a government road map unveiled on 4th June which includes plans to commercialize autonomous flights by 2035.
An inauguration ceremony was led by the Minister of Land, Infrastructure and Transport on 24th June, where 40 companies, research groups and state bodies signed an agreement to implement the country’s UAM road map.
A special law will put in place to introduce an eco-system covering personal air vehicles ahead of other countries, with the government planning to prepare operating standards by 2024.
In a statement, Minister Kim Hyun-mee said: “South Korea is the first country to prepare a government-level road map and create a policy community in which the public and private sectors participate in order to realize UAM. We will spare no support and efforts to help Korean-style UAM grow into a world standard.”
Hyundai unveiled its own eVTOL aircraft, the SA-1, at CES 2020 earlier this year, after announcing it was joining forces with ride-hailing firm Uber to launch an air taxi service – with the aim of being operational by 2023.
The air taxi can carry up to four passengers and fly on trips up to 60 miles (100km), at an altitude of between 1,000-2,000ft. It will be piloted initially, before eventually becoming autonomous, and will only need between five and seven minutes to recharge – according to the automotive giant.
And in July 2019, Hanwha Systems announced a $25 million equity investment in K4 Aeronautics, a U.S. personal air vehicle developer. This followed the acquisition of a 30 percent stake in Overair, an American eVTOL company which is a spin off from aerospace manufacturer Karem Aircraft, which specializes in advanced tilt-rotor transport aircraft.