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SK Telecom to ramp up development of flying cars

This rendered image, provided by Korea Airports Corp. on Jan. 28, 2021, shows the planned terminal for urban air mobility services. (Korea Airports Corp.)
This rendered image, provided by Korea Airports Corp. on Jan. 28, 2021, shows the planned terminal for urban air mobility services. (Korea Airports Corp.)
SK Telecom Co., South Korea's top wireless carrier, said Tuesday it will speed up the development of urban air mobility (UAM) services.

In 2020, South Korea unveiled its plan to commercialize UAM services by 2025 to help overcome urban traffic congestion by using unmanned drone taxis.

Last year, SK Telecom signed a partnership with local defense company Hanwha Systems Co., Korea Airports Corp. and the Korea Transport Institute to develop the infrastructure and aircraft required for UAM services.

This week, SK Telecom and the Korea Transport Institute agreed to accelerate the development of UAM services and expand its services into tourism and emergency response.

The two sides also agreed to collaborate in finding the best locations for "vertiports," terminals that allow take-off and landing for the drone taxis.

SK Telecom said it is currently developing a platform that offers a reservation system and connects UAM services with other types of transportation.

The move comes as South Korea expects the UAM industry to take off in the next few decades.

SK Telecom said the global UAM-related market is expected to be worth 731 trillion won ($611 billion) by 2040, citing data from the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport. (Yonhap)

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