Joby partners with SK Telecom to develop eVTOL air taxi network in South Korea

Avatar for eVTOLBy eVTOL | February 7, 2022

Estimated reading time 4 minutes, 43 seconds.

California-based Joby Aviation is partnering with SK Telecom (SKT), a telecommunications company in South Korea, to introduce aerial ridesharing services in the country.  

Joby Aviation South Korea
Through a partnership with SK Telecom, a telecommunications company in South Korea, Joby Aviation plans to introduce its eVTOL air taxis in South Korea as part of the K-UAM Roadmap. Joby Aviation Image

The agreement supports the Korean Urban Air Mobility (K-UAM) Roadmap, introduced by the South Korean Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport in 2020, in which South Korea expects to establish fixed corridors for initial UAM operations, gradually evolving into dynamic corridor networks as the industry advances. The country’s goal is to commercialize urban air taxis in South Korea by 2025.

“We are thrilled to be partnering with the team at SKT who bring a wealth of relevant experience and technology to the table,” said JoeBen Bevirt, founder and CEO of Joby, in a press release. “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.”

Joby plans to use SKT’s map mobility platform and UT ride-hailing service to integrate its five-seat piloted air taxi into South Korea’s transportation system. Established as a joint venture between SKT and Uber in 2021, UT combines SKT’s map platform and Uber’s ridesharing technology.

Ryu Young-sang, CEO of SK Telecom, and JoeBen Bevirt, founder and CEO of Joby, signed a strategic collaboration agreement at Joby’s manufacturing facility in Marina, California. Joby Aviation Image

Meanwhile, in the U.S., Joby has been working with Uber since 2019 — later acquiring the Uber Elevate platform in 2020 — and plans to operate its own aerial ridesharing services through the Joby app or the Uber app in core U.S. markets.

Joby has spent more than a decade developing its aircraft, which the company said will have a maximum range of 150 miles (241 kilometers) on a single charge, a top speed of 200 mph (321 km/h), and a low noise profile for urban environments.

Joby has completed more than 1,000 flight tests, and is the first eVTOL company to sign a G-1 stage 4 certification basis for its aircraft with the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

The eVTOL developer recently set new company records, tweeting that it had reportedly achieved its goal of flying at speeds of 205 mph (330 km/h) with its pre-production aircraft, and then reaching an altitude of more than 11,000 feet (3,353 meters) during another flight. Joby is targeting commercial operations in 2024.

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