SK Telecom announced that ‘K-UAM Dream Team,’ a consortium consisting of SKT, Korea Airports Corporation, Hanwha Systems, and T Map Mobility, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with South Gyeongsang Province (Governor Park Wan-soo) to promote the Urban Air Mobility (UAM) business in the southern coastal region of Korea.
The southern coast (Namhaean) is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Korea with abundant marine tourism resources, including 876 islands and 27 beaches. K-UAM Dream Team and South Gyeongsang Province will work together to foster a high value-added tourism industry by combining the beautiful natural environment and future air mobility service, and turn the region into a more attractive global tourist destination.
Under the MOU, SKT will operate UAM service based on AI technologies, build aerial networks, and introduce UAM aircrafts in collaboration with Joby Aviation; Korea Airports Corporation will build UAM vertiports and provide UAM traffic management service; Hanwha Systems will handle development, manufacturing, sales and MRO of aircrafts, and provide traffic management solutions; and T Map Mobility will build and operate a Mobility-as-a-Service platform that can seamlessly connect UAM and ground transportation. South Gyeongsang Province will offer sites and infrastructure for UAM operations and provide administrative support.
This MOU – along with two MOUs K-UAM Dream Team reached with Jeju Special Self-Governing Province and Daegu Metropolitan City – is expected to accelerate progress towards achieving the Korean Government’s goal of commercializing UAM service by 2025.
K-UAM Dream Team entered into an MOU with Jeju Special Self-Governing Province (Governor Oh Young-hun) in September last year to launch the nation’s first commercial UAM service on Jeju Island, Korea’s largest and most developed resort island, in 2025. Their plans include building vertiports or UAM and a traffic management system to transport travelers between Jeju International Airport and major tourist destinations on the island.
Also, in October 2022, K-UAM Dream Team inked an MOU with Daegu Metropolitan City (Mayor Hong Joon-pyo) to actively promote UAM to shape Daegu into a leading UAM city in Korea. Collaborative efforts are being made to develop services and infrastructure required for UAM. K-UAM Dream Team and Daegu Metropolitan City will provide UAM service in urban areas of Daegu and later expand the service to the Daegu-Gyeongbuk area centered on a new airport being constructed in the region.
UAM is being highlighted as an environmentally-friendly mobility service that can help solve traffic congestion and pollution issues. Currently, preparations for UAM commercialization are in full swing in Korea. K-UAM Dream Team is participating in the ‘K-UAM Grand Challenge,’ a phased demonstration program led by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport. The first phase of demonstrations will take place this year at the National Comprehensive Flight Performance Test Center located in Goheung, and the second phase will be conducted in urban areas of Seoul, Incheon and Gyeonggi Province in 2024. K-UAM Dream Team plans to play a leading role in commercializing UAM in 2025 by thoroughly verifying the technical safety of aircrafts, traffic management, and infrastructure and ensuring integrated operation of all elements.
As a company rapidly shaping into an AI company, SKT is aggressively promoting UAM, which can be realized through the application of cutting-edge ICT technologies including AI. At present, the company is generating synergies with other SK ICT affiliates like T Map Mobility in terms of expanding the scope of its business from mobile business to mobility business.
“Following our partnership with Jeju and Daegu, we are excited to join hands with South Gyeongsang Province and look forward to driving UAM-powered innovations in this region,” said Ryu Young-sang, CEO of SKT. “With our strong partners like Korea Airports Corporation, Hanwha Systems, and Joby Aviation, we will swiftly move towards introducing a safe and convenient UAM service in Korea.”