Country introduction

The Minister of Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport (MOLIT) has developed a UAM roadmap for the country:
These are the highlights:
• In the early stages of commercialization, the fare is 40 (Incheon Airport-Yeouido), which is a little more expensive than the standard taxi, but is expected to be cheaper than the regular taxi at the level of 11 won if the market expands and autonomous flight is realized.
• Autonomous flight is expected to be possible after 2035, due to technology development and safety certification time required by the airworthiness authorities.
• MOLIT established a “drone transportation officer*' as an exclusive organization for urban air traffic in August 2022 and operated a technical committee of industry, academia, research and related experts to discover issues and challenges in the field of new air transportation. Members include:
** (Industry) Hanwha Systems, Hyundai Motor, SKT, Korean Air, etc. (Research) Hangyeon, Traffic Yeon, Electronic Communication Yeon, Aviation Safety Technology Institute (Academic) Seoul National University, Konkuk University, Hanseo University, Aviation University, Inha University, etc.
• Through this roadmap, the government aims for full-scale commercialization from 2024 (demonstration flights). To this end, three basic directions have been established: government support for privately-led initiatives, construction of a new institutional framework rather than the existing safety and transportation system framework, and application of global standards to induce advancement and growth in advanced industries.
• To establish a Korean-style flight standard suitable for domestic conditions such as communication environment, weather conditions, and social acceptability of noise, the public-private joint demonstration project (K-UAM Grand Challenge, '22~'24) will be promoted.
• Traffic management for urban air traffic is implemented step by step using the K drone system (2017~2022, during R&D), a Korean drone traffic management system (UTM). K-Drone System's operational altitude (150m) will be extended to the current helicopter operational altitude (300-600m) to provide and approve and submit electronic flight plans, and to monitor and share flight conditions between aircraft and control centers ('20~) Is expected.
• Safety standards for construction, charging, and emergency landing facilities related to the construction of the urban air traffic terminal (Vertiport) have been established by the public-private joint.
• MRO (Aircraft Maintenance and Maintenance), pilot qualification criteria are explored and specified, and in the mid- to long-term, AI certification plans for autonomous aviation are also being prepared.
• Prior to commercialization of urban air traffic ('25), special liberalization zones* will be designated and operated in accordance with the drone method so that they can fly without restrictions during the test and demonstration stages.
• Development of a one-seater prototype ('1~'19, national land/MOTIE) is completed first, and mid-to-long-range (23-100km) aircraft and 400--2-seaters (currently 8 passengers are mainly available) to enable cross-city flights and cross-city flights. Development) Gas development is also reviewed. In particular, we develop high-power, high-energy-density battery cells, battery packaging technology, high-speed charging technology, and battery management system (BMS) related to the electric battery field (2020~2023).
• In the propulsion and power systems, we are developing electric and low-noise distributed propulsion motors and inverters, and hybrid and hydrogen fuel cells for medium and long-distance flight.
• In preparation for large-scale demands arising from rapid market growth, major materials such as carbon composite materials, resins, batteries, and batteries are also secured in production technology.
• In particular, it plans to comprehensively develop sensors, navigation, system semiconductors, and S/W that will influence the three key areas of recognition, judgment, and control in order to prepare for the future of urban air traffic.
• We are also establishing a system for collecting and providing information that can efficiently provide (high-performance navigation) information by displaying information such as high-resolution weather information related to safety and the environment and the current state of radio interference on a 3D city map
• When constructing an urban air terminal (Vertiport), economic benefits such as partial reduction of transportation inducement charges, provision of gas taxation standards, tax benefits, and eco-friendly subsidies for gas and charging facilities are also prepared according to the maturity level of the market.
• Prior to full-scale operation of urban air traffic services for passenger transportation, the safety of K-Drone System, a transportation management system, and the safety of cargo transportation are verified and cargo transportation services are implemented first.
• From the postal service field, which has provided transportation services in areas with relatively low product delivery frequency, such as islands and mountains, the drone transportation service is first utilized to secure business feasibility.
• Induce distribution to distribution models in the private sector, such as distribution distribution of gas stations and convenience stores, sample delivery of oil tankers, food delivery, delivery of documents in downtown areas, and transportation of small equipment at construction sites.
• It is promoted to provide initial services (2024) in the field of using existing helicopters such as forestry, firefighting, and police as a prime object for the use and dissemination of the new concept flight chain electric distributed power take-off and landing (eVTOL).
• In particular, we actively review helicopters as purchase targets in the defence sector, where there is a high demand for helicopter use, such as training, detection, and transportation.
• Promoting the construction of tourism products and UAM theme parks so that people can more easily experience and experience the actual shape of urban air traffic, and prepare and distribute urban air traffic specialized courses and basic education programs to expand the human resource base, making
• As a result of the service prediction of Corgan, a Uber Vertiport architectural design service, it is expected that it will require 1,500 million dollars (180 billion won, improved urban center) or 5,000 million dollars (600 billion won, outlying base) based on minimum functions. However, in order to promote the initial commercialization, the government established facilities such as charging, navigation, communication, and related transportation on the demonstration route (2024), and upgraded it to the initial commercialization route (2024~2025) in connection with private business plans. Review.
• In order to include urban air traffic in metropolitan area wide area transportation, it is linked to the complex transit center construction and promotion plan and cooperates with related local governments.
• Considering the travel time (10-20 minutes) of downtown air traffic, unlike the existing aviation security screening, the passenger security screening will be simplified based on the identification of passengers and the search for dangerous goods among portable items.
• Considering the city air traffic service area (in the city center) and the operating distance (30-50 km), the city air traffic service provider prepares a bus and taxi service system similar to the existing air transport business system ('23).
• In addition, standards for various businesses such as leasing, MRO, operation, service, and infrastructure, as well as the roles and responsibilities between operators, are also established.
• In particular, in the early stages, the transportation system will be prepared and operated mainly by the central government, which was dedicated to the existing air transportation business, and the phased transfer of power to the local government will be considered in consideration of market maturity and activation level.
• In the early stages when safety-related statistics are insufficient, government-led insurance standard models are developed and distributed (2023) so that private insurance companies can launch products smoothly.
• Based on the metropolitan area with heavy traffic congestion, the time and social costs that can be reduced are expected to reach 70%.
• According to the results of the market analysis, the domestic urban air traffic market in 40 reached 13 trillion won (production 1.2, infrastructure 2.0 service 9.8), resulting in 16 job creation, production inducement of 23 trillion, and value added inducement of 11 trillion won. Is expected.
* (Production) Design/developer, manufacturer (mass production), aviation material, battery, communication parts manufacturer, etc.
(Infrastructure) Architecture design, construction/construction, rental/operation business, power supplier, etc.
(Service) Carrier, MRO, Finance/Insurance, Education/Training, Flight Support Service, Communication, etc.
• In June, the government launched “UAM Team Korea”, an industry-academia-research-industry council and policy community, accelerating the realization of urban air transportation services and industrial development.
There are four consortia who have announced their bids for the government’s national UAM K-UAM Grand Challenge to move the roadmap from theory to reality. The government wants to select consortium partners to pioneer the development of commercial UAM services from 2025 – there are no winners or losers in the challenge, say government officials, and all participants could be chosen to participate in the development of the final eco-system.

The consortia are:

• SK Telecom Co., Hanwha Systems, Korea Airports Corp., the Korea Meteorological Institute, TMAP, as well as LX. The aircraft itself will be made by California-based aerospace company Joby Aviation.
• LG Uplus Corp., Hyundai Motor Group, Pablo Air, Kakao Mobility, Jeju Air, and GS Caltex, Vertical Aerospace.
• Hyundai Motor Company, KT Corp., Korean Air Lines Co., Hyundai Engineering & Construction and the Incheon International Airport Corp.
• Lotte Rental Co., Lotte Engineering & Construction, Mobius.energy and SKyworks Aeronautics

The industry players will jointly run a demo test of their operations at Korea’s first UAM test bed, located in South Jeolla Province. The K-UAM Grand Challenge incorporates Korea Aerospace Research Institute and 124 companies. Also participating are foreign UAM stakeholders like Joby Aviation, Volocopter and Skyport, as well as research partners like NASA.

The Transport Ministry said it will prioritize the introduction of air medical services, tourism (including UAM theme parks developed in cooperation with local governments and public institutions) and eventual defence applications. In 2025, four vertiports are due to be built within public buildings such as fire stations and hospitals. Each vertiport will serve two specialised air corridors. Services will run 11 times a day at a cost of 3,000 won ($2.50) per kilometre per person. Vertiports will then increase to 52 with some 203 fixed routes, running more than 43,000 times a day at a rate of 1,300 won per kilometre per person.

According to the current timetable by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, participants will be chosen following a notice period (3.5 months) and an evaluation period (4 months). Apart from participant selection, a demonstration infrastructure functions/performances such as dry runs, DT, and flight procedure verification are being scheduled:

• Announcement of the Korean UAM Grand Challenge : Feb. 17, 2022
• Recruitment period for K-UAM GC 1 : Feb. 18, 2022 ~ May. 31,2022
• Evaluation of participant and due diligence : Jun. 1, 2022 ~ Oct. 17, 2022
• Selection of participants of K-UAM GC 1 : Nov. 2022
• DT in K-UAM GC 1 : May. 2023 ~ Jul. 2022
• Demonstration flight in K-UAM GC 1 : Aug. 2023 ~ Mar 2024
• Result report : Apr. 2023 ~ May. 2024

A blueprint of Transport Ministry's K-UAM demonstration of test operation of Urban Air Mobility in Goheung, South Jeolla Province. (MOLIT)

In May 2022 Volocopter announced it “has officially signed a joint venture agreement with our South Korean partner, WP Investment”, and that “this is a key step forward in our journey to launch UAM in the Republic of Korea”. In May 2021 Volocopter, and Kakao Mobility (KM), South Korea’s largest mobility platform company, signed a memorandum of understanding to conduct a feasibility study on introducing UAM in South Korea.