SK Telecom (SKT) forged a deal with the Korean Transport Institute to develop urban air mobility (UAM) services, with the long-term aim of serving the emergency response and tourism sectors.

In a translated statement, SKT noted the partnership will link its advanced mobile communication operation capabilities with the high-level research and analysis abilities of the institute, a local think-tank that works to predict transportation demand and develop policies.

The organisations will first conduct joint research to find the best locations to build facilities for the autonomous air taxis to take off and land.

SKT is working on a platform offering ground-to-air communications, infotainment and a reservation system, noting the UAM service has the potential to reduce air pollution, road congestion and traffic accidents.

In 2021 the operator formed a consortium with local defence company Hanwha Systems and Korea Airports to commercialise UAMs and partnered to participate in a government demonstration project.