Flying passenger vehicles to be demonstrated above S. Korea's iconic canal in 2024

By Kim Joo-heon Posted : January 25, 2024, 17:48 Updated : January 28, 2024, 04:33
Photograph by Lee Sang-woo  lswooajunewscom
[Photograph by Lee Sang-woo =]

SEOUL -- South Korea has selected Ara Waterway, a canal that connects the Han River that flows through Seoul with the Yellow Sea, as the first location to demonstrate flying taxis, also known as urban air mobility vehicles. Starting in August 2024, flying passenger vehicles will be tested above the canal's 14-kilometer (8.7-mile) section in the western port city of Incheon.

Urban air mobility (UAM) is a future ecosystem involving flying passenger vehicles in city areas. Aerial vehicles are required to fly through designated aerial corridors to prevent accidents and improve the safety of pedestrians on the land. Vertiports will be placed on safe places like rooftops. Through a public-private consultative body, South Korea's transport ministry aims to commercialize manned drone taxis in 2025. 

Tests of flying passenger vehicles will be carried out above Ara Waterway in August this year. Before the demonstration, the government will establish a regulatory sandbox regarding flying vehicles by May 2024. In 2025, the demonstration will also take place above the Han River and Tancheon, a stream that flows from Yongin City south of Seoul to the southern areas of the capital city.

The demonstration is part of South Korea's plans to prepare for the next-generation mobility. During a public debate on January 25, South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol announced an investment of 11 trillion won ($8.2 billion) to alleviate traffic congestion during commute times. Yoon plans to expand a high-speed underground commuter rail project called "Great Train Express (GTX)" across the nation.

In March 2023, the transport ministry unveiled its plan to set up transfer centers with urban air mobility infrastructure at four major stations -- PyeongtaekJije Station, Gangneung Station, Masan Station, and Daejeon Station. Passengers who just got off the train stations can take next-generation transporters to reach their final destinations.
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