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  • Nation’s First Drone Taxi to Transport Passengers in the Sky

  • Traffic News SMG 945

    “Flying cars” will be a reality in Seoul. The Seoul Metropolitan Government (SMG) launched a drone taxi to transport passengers into the sky as the future mode of transportation in Yeouido on Wed, Nov. 11, 2020. It is the nation’s first experiment involving drone taxis in the sky.

    At 10 AM on Wed, Nov. 11, the SMG held the UAM Seoul Demo in partnership with the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport (MOLIT) under the subtitle of “City, the Door to the Sky” to demonstrate the urban air mobility technology of the drone taxi.

    A double-seater drone vehicle was used for the demonstration and flew about seven minutes over Yeouido Hangang Park, Seogangdaegyo Bridge, Bamseom Island, and Mapodaegyo Bridge at an altitude of 50 meters. The event is more meaningful in that it takes place at Yeouido, which is the location of the nation’s first airfield. Seven companies and universities from Korea and abroad, including Hyundai Motors and Hanwha Systems, participated in the demonstration event and displayed their airframe models for a drone taxi.

    The SMG announced that the demonstration of the people-carrying drone taxi became possible based on the MOLIT’s law system maintenance including the Aviation Safety Act following the central government’s preparation of “K-UAM Roadmap” as well as the injection of infrastructure, such as drone taxis, by the city.

    UAM, which uses the sky as the route, is drawing attention as a solution for metropolises that are reaching the limit of ground transportation due to the high density of population and chronic traffic congestion. The SMG has plans that following this demonstration of flying the drone taxi, Seoul will become the leader in the field of UAM.

    Using the airframe that was used this time, the demonstration of a flying taxi will be held not only in Seoul but also in other regions, spreading the interest in the UAM throughout the country.

    Additionally, the SMG will sign an MOU with universities and private institutions specializing in air mobility to cultivate pilots and mechanics. The SMG will use the airframe of the drone taxi in cultivating talents, and use it after the certification of the MOLIT as fire aircraft, opening the age when UAM protects the lives and properties of citizens.

    On the other hand, in order to commercialize UAM, the government should develop related technologies and improve institutions in line with the development of airframes by the private sector. The MOLIT announced that, while preparing for the event, it has accumulated the experience of setting up a standard for the safety examination of the drone taxi airframe and certifying the frame. It will continue to actively foster the industry in the nation by providing Korean companies with the opportunity to demonstrate flying of the drone taxis that are applied with new technologies and promptly preparing the institutions for their commercialization.