In collaboration with SK Telecom, Joby Aviation, a California-based electric vertical take-off and landing start-up, plans to launch an air taxi service in South Korea. The air taxi service will leverage the T-Map Mobility platform that offers subscription-based mobility-as-a-service consisting of rental cars, parking, ride-hailing and other transportation-related services.
Although SK Telecom and Joby Aviation signed a collaboration agreement on the new deal, the duo is awaiting certification from the South Korean authorities. There is no concrete deadline for the companies to announce their air taxi service in the country.
According to a joint statement released by the companies, Korean Urban Air Mobility (K-UAM) Roadmap, an initiative by the South Korean Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, have expressed explicit interest and support for the venture. K-UAM Roadmap aims to commercialise limited UAM services by 2025 to reduce traffic congestion in major cities. Joby Aviation-SK Telecom partnership will allow the government to do so. The plan is to establish one or two routes in the Seoul metropolitan area, and set up to 10 air taxi terminals in another ten years. These would connect to local buses, subways and other forms of mobility in the place.
SKT is a part of UAM Team Korea, a government-led consortium of private sector stakeholders that comprise top players like Hyundai, Korean Air and Incheon International Airport Corporation. The consortium pushes for the early stabilisation of domestic UAM.
“With more than 42 million people living in urban areas, South Korea offers a remarkable opportunity for Joby to make air travel a part of daily life, helping people to save time while reducing their carbon footprint,” said JoeBen Bevirt, CEO of Joby, in a statement.
Joby Aviation to Test Air Taxi Flights in San Francisco Bay Area
Meanwhile, Joby Aviation is seeking permission from the FCC for a series of air taxi flights over San Francisco Bay to test its second-gen pre-production prototype, the S4. S4 has a maximum range of 150 miles and a top speed of 200 miles per hour. Besides, it has a low noise profile that would allow it to access built-up areas.