Uber Technologies and South Korean telecommunications company SK Telecom have agreed to form a joint venture for a specialized mobility business that will be spun off from SK Telecom. The new business will both support current on-demand ground transportation operations in tandem with planning future aerial mobility services. SK Telecom stated that its board had approved the creation of this new business, tentatively named “T Map Mobility”, and Uber has agreed to invest over $100 million into the joint venture. 

SK Telecom CEO Park Jung-ho stated that his company’s goal with T Map Mobility is to “usher in a new era of future mobility technologies, including flying vehicles.” T Map is South Korea’s largest mobility platform with around 13 million monthly active users, and the company plans to use data from these operations to help design aerial mobility infrastructure. 

Rendering of the EmbraerX eVTOL, a partner to the Uber Elevate project

SK Telecom stated that T Map Mobility would leverage 5G, artificial intelligence and T Map capabilities to offer optimal route planning, 3-D high definition mapping for high-altitude geographic features, and intelligent air traffic control systems for vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft. SK Telecom is a member of Urban Air Mobility (UAM) Team Korea, a public-private consultative body launched in June to commercialize drone taxis by 2025.

Why it’s important: Leveraging South Korea’s most popular mobility platform, this joint venture between SK Telecom and Uber will accelerate the development of ride share services in South Korea on the ground to eventually transition to the air. By combining these businesses, the venture will provide an “all-in-one” mobility service that will utilizing existing ground transportation networks to grow into eventual aerial mobility services. By establishing this partnership, SK Telecom, Uber, and South Korea are laying down groundwork for air mobility in a major and systemic way. 

Source // Aju Business Daily

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