SEOUL, Jan. 28 (Korea Bizwire) — SK Telecom Co., South Korea’s top wireless carrier, said Thursday it has joined hands with local defense company Hanwha Systems Co., Korea Airports Corp. and the Korea Transport Institute to speed up development of urban air mobility (UAM) services.
Last year, South Korea unveiled its plan to commercialize UAM services by 2025 to help overcome urban traffic congestion by using unmanned drone taxis.
SK Telecom said they will work together to develop the infrastructure and aircraft required for UAM services.
Under the partnership, SK Telecom will establish a network for air traffic communication and develop a platform that connects UAM services with other modes of transportation.
Hanwha Systems will be in charge of developing the aircraft and its control system, Korea Airports Corp. will establish and operate the aircraft ports, while the Korea Transport Institute will research on UAM service demand and adoption.
The move comes as South Korea expects the UAM industry to take off in the next few decades.
SK Telecom said the global UAM-related market is expected to be worth 731 trillion won (US$659 billion) by 2040, citing data from the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport.
The telecom operator’s efforts are also the latest in its push for new mobility services.
Last year, SK Telecom spun off its mobile navigation business into a separate company, T Map Mobility Co.