[Source: GS Caltex]
GS Caltex will build flying taxi ports for arrivals and departures at its nationwide gas pump network as part of an urban air mobility (UAM) project joined by mobility operation and management platform companies, drone and UAM builders, as well as a traditional airline.
The major oil refiner in South Korea on Wednesday announced it signed on an agreement to form a UAM consortium with Kakao Mobility, LG Uplus, Jeju Air, Pablo Air and Vertical Aerospace. The consortium will participate in the Korean government’s first phase demo program for validation of commercial flying taxi servicing under the name of K-UAM Grand Challenge (GC) and explore additional business opportunities in the future UAM ecosystem.
Under Korea’s land and transport ministry’s plan, GC-1 will be carried out to test the safety and integrated operability of UAM and communication systems with a goal of commercialization by 2025. Participating companies will be selected this year and demo flights will begin in an open area next year.
Each member of the consortium will play a critical role in building the UAM ecosystem. GS Caltex will use its gas stations to provide UAM vertiports. Its gas stations evenly present across the country are suitable as vertiports because the ceiling space is open to facilitate aircraft takeoff and landing.
Kakao Mobility is responsible for building a vertiport solution that implements automatic check-in and security search functions and presents a multi-modal mobility vision that encompasses ground and air services based on its Kakao T operating know-how. Pablo Air, as a drone solution and service company, plans to build a UAM integrated flight control system.
LG Uplus will establish a stable communication and traffic management system to prevent potential collisions by observing and controlling all UAM movements. Jeju Air will provide safe and reliable flight services based on its aviation know-how.
A flying taxi model to be used by the consortium will be manufactured by Vertical Aerospace, a British aerospace manufacturer that designs and builds electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) electrically powered aircraft. The eVTOL developer has racked up pre-orders for up to 1,350 aircraft and plans to demonstrate its service in Paris during the 2024 Olympic Games.
GS Caltex will continue to work closely with other consortium members to ensure the commercial operation of their UAM services, while developing its gas stations as bases that provide various mobility services such as UAM, electric and hydrogen vehicle charging, car sharing, and drone delivery, a company official said.
By Park Yun-gu and Minu Kim
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