Korean Air shows off comprehensive urban air mobility system backed by 5G


The ‘world first’ was achieved via a partnership between Korean Air, Hyundai Motor Company, Korea Telecom (KT), Incheon International Airport Corporation, and Hyundai Engineering & Construction

This week, Korean Air has announced the successful demonstration of their urban air mobility (UAM) operating system, a system which could become the foundation upon which commercial flying taxi services could be launched by 2025.

The project has seen Korean Air work alongside numerous partners, most notably Hyundai, which provided the electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft via its subsidiary Supernal, and KT, which supplied the 5G network connectivity underpinning the project.

The demonstration itself saw the eVTOL aircraft flown in a 10 different scenarios, described as a mixture of ‘normal and abnormal operations’.

Gather gathered from the tests will reportedly be used to inform future UAM operations in “high-density urban environments”.

“Korean Air will continue to engage in various UAM initiatives, and work to validate and enhance government-established UAM concepts and procedures to develop the UAM ecosystem in Korea,” said the airline in a statement.

The testing comes as part of the South Korean government’s wider efforts to make progress in the emerging field of UAM. In 2022, the government launched its K-UAM Grand Challenge programme, seeking to bring together various industry players, including aircraft developers, airspace designers, and air traffic management operators, to help develop the UAM ecosystem and commercialise UAM in central Korean cities by 2025.

This Korean Air consortium was one of a number of participants, with another notable consortium featuring rival telco SK Telecom and Hanwha Systems, the former of which last summer invested $100 million in flying taxi specialist Joby Aviation to expand their efforts.

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