SK Telecom will set up a 5G communication network for air taxis


An artist’s concept illustrates plans for an air taxi terminal in South Korea. Image courtesy of SK Telecom

SEOUL, Aug. 5 (UPI) — South Korean mobile communications giant SK Telecom has announced plans to build a communications network dedicated to air taxi services.

SK Telecom has successfully completed its trial on the fifth-generation network for unmanned air mobility services at Goheung Flight Test Airfield, about 250 miles south of Seoul, the company said Thursday.

The results will help SK Telecom build a dedicated 5G network for air taxis along a designated area in Goheung in partnership with the Korea Aerospace Research Institute.

South Korea’s ambition is to commercialize UAM services by 2025, enabling unmanned electric vehicles to take off and land vertically, as well as fly safely.

SK Telecom said it would allow other UAM players to use its overhead network.

“To introduce stable UAM services, we need to build a high-quality 5G network for air traffic communication,” said Ha Min-yong, senior official of SK Telecom, in a statement.

“We aim to lead 6G or the era of sixth-generation mobility, where telecommunications services can accommodate both ground and air traffic,” he said.

Experts point out that an air network for air taxis is different from those for traditional ground services.

“Stability is essential in UAM network because any problem in the network can lead to huge crashes. Also, it cannot be vulnerable to hacking,” said Kim Pil-soo, a professor at Daelim University, at UPI News Korea.

“South Korea is a proven powerhouse in telecommunications. As such, I believe we will succeed in building and operating a stable network for air taxis,” he said.

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