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S. Korean companies join hands to build vertiports at gas stations

Visualization of GS Caltex‘s next generation charging stations at CES 2021 (GS Caltex)
Visualization of GS Caltex‘s next generation charging stations at CES 2021 (GS Caltex)
By 2025, flying taxis, or urban air mobility (UAM) vehicles, in South Korea could be accessed at gas stations located near major cities.

Oil refiner GS Caltex, along with five leading companies in telecom, mobility and airline businesses, have formed a consortium to jump into the future mobility market together on Tuesday. The five other firms are telecom company LG Uplus, taxi-hailing app Kakao Mobility, domestic drone solutions company Pablo Air, low-cost carrier Jeju Air, and British UAM manufacturer Vertical Aerospace.

Together, they will take part in the Transport Ministry-led K-UAM Grand Challenge program to develop and operate air vehicles or airspace management services in the UAM ecosystem.

GS Caltex plans to use its network of gas stations to secure locations for vertiports, an area designed specifically for UAM aircraft to take off and land.

Gas stations are apt for such functions, as they are easily found spread throughout the country and have open air space with no roofs, making it easier and quicker for flying cars to depart and land.

Kakao Mobility, experienced in developing and operating the Mobility as Service app Kakao T will be in charge of creating a vertiport solution for automatic check-ins and security of vertiports.

LG Uplus plans to establish a traffic management system to observe and control UAM flights for safety purposes such as preventing collisions.

Jeju Air will offer a safe and reliable flight operation service with the help of its aviation professionals and flight-related systems.

Pablo Air aims to establish a real-time control system for UAM with its specialty in drone logistics solutions and services.

Vertical Aerospace will be in charge of making the UAM aircraft for the consortium.

The UAM manufacturer is already a leader in the industry, with around 1,350 units of its electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft preordered from various countries. It is to test-drive the aircraft at the upcoming 2024 Paris Olympics.

“Under the consortium, we will be closely cooperating to commercialize UAM services. We will continue to enhance our gas stations to function simultaneously as a hydrogen and electric vehicle charging station, a car-sharing mobility platform, and a base for drone taxis,” said an official from GS Caltex.

GS Caltex presented its next-generation charging station at its debut at the Consumer Electronics Show 2021.

By Hong Yoo (
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Korea Herald daum