Companies join forces to bring urban air mobility to South Korea

German urban air mobility (UAM) specialist, Volocopter, and Kakao Mobility (KM), South Korea’s largest mobility platform company, are joining forces to conduct a feasibility study on introducing UAM in the republic.

Volocopter recently conducted two public test flights at Gimpo International Airport and Incheon Airport, Seoul. They marked South Korea’s first crewed public test flights of an electrical vertical and take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft.

Potential routes

The two companies have announced a memorandum of understanding and said the study will identify a list of potential commercial routes, operational capabilities, and business models necessary for a UAM service operator in South Korea.

The findings, to be released by February 2022, will lay the groundwork for possible future cooperation between both companies to launch UAM services in South Korea, which plans to commercialise the service by 2025.

UAM complements existing mobility options in cities to reduce congestion. Volocopter’s VoloCity aims to be the first fully electric eVTOL aircraft in certification to transport passengers “safely and quietly” within cities. Volocopter has obtained both design and production organisation approvals from European Union Aviation Safety Agency.

“Having a strong and reliable network of partners has always been a fundamental factor for our continued success. We believe that the synergy from the cooperation with a leading local partner helps us develop a service tailored for the domestic market,” said Florian Reuter, CEO of Volocopter. “Through this partnership, we will leverage Kakao Mobility’s existing network of urban ground mobility and readapt [its] strengths for urban air mobility.”

Kakao T app is the largest mobility platform in South Korea. The mobility-as-a-service app offers various mobility-related services such as taxis, parking, and navigation. Seungil You, chief technology officer of Kakao Mobility, said, with 30 million registered users, Kakao Mobility has deep insights on traffic patterns and customer needs in the Korean mobility market.

“Starting from the cooperation with Volocopter in the Korean market, we are looking forward to expanding our partnership across the UAM industry worldwide as well as our business as an airspace mobility platform in the future,” said You.

Volocopter is also developing products for the logistics space with its heavy-lift cargo variant, the VoloDrone.


Foto: Molit