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Joby Aviation, SK Telecom partner to bring air taxi service to South Korea

By Chris Stonor

Joby and SK Telecom (SKT) announced this week, they will partner to introduce air taxi services to cities and communities across South Korea, reports

SKT’s CEO, Ryu Young-sang, and Joby’s founder and CEO, JoeBen Bevirt, signed “a strategic collaboration agreement” at Joby’s manufacturing facility in Marina, California. The agreement sees the two companies working closely on introducing “this revolutionary form of transportation” in support of the South Korean Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport’s “K-UAM” (Korean Urban Air Mobility) Roadmap, first announced in 2020.

To provide better integration between land and air travel, the air taxi service will use the T Map Mobility platform, an SKT-spinoff that provides subscription-based mobility-as-a-service consisting of rental cars, parking, ride-hailing and other transportation-related services as well as the UT ride-hailing service, a joint venture formed between T Map and Uber last year, eight years after the Silicon Valley-based ride-hailing giant first attempted to enter the Korean market.

Ryu Young-sang, CEO of SKT, commented, “By joining forces with Joby, we expect to accelerate our journey towards the era of Urban Air Mobility and lead the way on introducing this exciting new technology.” He continued, “Collaborating with leading global companies is essential to securing leadership in future industries, which we are confident will be driven by the growth of UAM, autonomous driving, and robots.”

SKT boasts unrivalled leadership in the Korean mobile market with over 30 million subscribers, which account for nearly 50 percent of the market.

JoeBen Bevirt, CEO of Joby, remarked, “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.”

With a maximum range of 150 miles, a top speed of 200 mph, and a low noise profile that allows flight over urban areas, Joby’s piloted aircraft is designed to make convenient, fast and emissions-free air travel.

While Joby’s aerial ridesharing service will be operated directly by the company and offered to passengers via the Joby app or the Uber app in core U.S. markets, this partnership reflects Joby’s strategy to collaborate with local companies outside the U.S.

SKT has been promoting the development of urban air mobility by leveraging its expertise in telecommunications, autonomous driving, precise positioning, and security to become a leading company in connected intelligence. As a member of the “UAM Team Korea”, SKT is also working together with other major Korean companies to enhance the nation’s competitiveness in the field.

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