The Korea Herald


Hanwha to invest in US air taxi startup

By Yeo Jun-suk

Published : July 11, 2019 - 15:50

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South Korean defense company Hanwha Systems said Wednesday that it would join the emerging mobility business by investing $25 million in a US startup that specializes in flying taxis.

Tentatively named K4 Aeronautics, the US firm will work with Hanwha Systems to develop the necessary technology to produce personal aerial vehicles. The Korean company said it would increase its investment after acquiring a certain stake in K4 Aeronautics.

According to Hanwha Systems, K4 Aeronautics has obtained multiple technology patents for its “high-efficiency, low-noise” aerial vehicles. Based in California, K4 Aeronautics will soon register its official name with the US government, which has yet to approve the investment deal. 

Hanwha System CEO Chang Si-kweon(left) and K4 Aeronaumics chief Ben Tigner. Hanwha System Hanwha System CEO Chang Si-kweon(left) and K4 Aeronaumics chief Ben Tigner. Hanwha System

“We believe K4 Aeronautics will meet the standards for market entry,” Hanwha Systems said in a statement. “Our investment deal will proceed with the normal requirements for the US government’s approval process.”

Describing the passenger aerial vehicle business as a “new growth engine,” the company said it would capitalize on its aerospace electronics and cybersecurity technology to develop the futuristic mobility technology.

Flying taxi services have been touted as a new mobility method recently, since aviation giants unveiled prototypes of autonomous passenger air vehicles. Ride-hailing company Uber has announced that it will begin air taxi services from 2023.

Governments around the world have been accelerating their efforts to embrace the futuristic technology to combat air pollution and traffic noise. The French government is working with aircraft manufacturer Airbus to bring air taxi services to Paris in time for the 2024 Olympic Games.

“The personal aerial vehicle is an attractive business item that will help us expand our horizons,” Hanwha Systems said. “Through global investment and cooperation with leading companies, we will transform the personal aerial vehicle business into our next growth engine.”