SEOUL, May 3 (Korea Bizwire) — A “drone taxi” service is set to begin piloting in Seoul next year. Initially, the service will be tested along the Han River between Gimpo Airport and Yeouido, as well as between Jamsil and Suseo.
The Seoul Metropolitan Government and MOLIT(the Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs) plan to announce the ‘K-UAM (Urban Air Transportation) Grand Challenge Demonstration Operation Plan’ in the middle of this month, which will contain a blueprint for pilot operations and commercialization from 2023 to 2025.
The UAM demonstration will be conducted in the metropolitan area outside of Seoul in the second half of next year, and in Seoul in the first half of next year. The service will be implemented in phases, starting with Incheon and Gyeonggi, and then expanding to Seoul.
The first phase, which will run from August of this year to December 2024, will be verified in the open field of Goheung, Jeollanam-do, while the second phase, from July 2024 to August 2025, will be conducted in the metropolitan area.
Seoul’s Yongsan district is currently a no-fly zone due to its proximity to the presidential office, but various possibilities, such as adjusting the zone, are reportedly being discussed depending on the results of the verification.
The city is currently establishing a basic plan for the introduction of UAMs, and a commercialization plan, including locations for “vertiports” (vertical takeoff and landing sites) that will serve as stops along the route, will be announced in the second half of this year.
In the future, Vertiports will be established in various parts of Seoul, including Yongsan, and “VertiHubs,” which are larger than Vertiports and serve as terminals, will be installed in Gimpo Airport and Jamsil.
During the demonstration period, the service cannot be used for purposes such as transporting goods or specific individuals. The city explained that it will only be possible to ride the service once the demonstration is over.
M. H. Lee (email@example.com)