Drone taxis have been flown in Seoul for the first time.
The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport and the Seoul Metropolitan Government on Nov. 11 held a demonstration event at Yeouido Park showcasing drone delivery and air taxis utilizing the so-called K-drone control system.
The drones were EH216s made by Chinese air taxi manufacturer Ehang. They flew across the park and the nearby Hangang River carrying a load equivalent to the weight of a person.
Also on display were mockups of personal air vehicles under development by Hyundai Motor and Hanwha Systems Co. as well as Hexa, a flying vehicle that resembles a drone developed by Lift Aircraft of the U.S.
The K-drone control system supports the safe flight of multiple drones, and is a key research and development task to ensure the operation of drone delivery and taxi services.
This was the first time that a comprehensive demonstration of drone taxis was held in Seoul, following those in Incheon and Yeongwol-gun County, Gangwon-do Province.
The government on June 4 announced a road map for urban air mobility (UAM) at its second strategy meeting on innovative growth, saying it will commercialize such services by 2025.
UAM uses flying vehicles capable of vertical takeoff and landing and traveling 30-50 km across the metropolis. The technology reduces travel time of an hour in a car to just 20 mins in a flying vehicle, and is considered a key innovation to help alleviate problems like traffic congestion in bigger cities.
Vice Minister of Land, Infrastructure and Transport Song Myoung Soo said, "Under our road map, we plan on nurturing domestic companies and providing more flying opportunities to those developing drone taxis as well as devising a rational system for the commercialization of such services."
Video: Arirang News (Youtube)
Written by Xu Aiying and Lee Hana (http://www.korea.net)