UAM Plays Key Role On Korean Bid For 2030 World Expo

K-UAM Dream Team member Hanwha Systems is the major investor in U.S. eVTOL startup Overair.

Credit: Hanwha Systems

Major global events such as the Olympic Games and World Expo have become a focus for the launch of urban air mobility (UAM) services, beginning with the Paris 2024 Summer Olympics and Expo 2025 in Osaka, Japan. 

Looking further ahead, the FAA is focusing on enabling UAM “at scale” at the 2028 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, while Australia is planning to have a UAM system in place for the 2032 Summer Olympics in Brisbane.

Busan, South Korea, is bidding to host Expo 2030, and the bid committee has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the K-UAM Dream Team led by SK Telecom to provide a transportation system for visitors to the event.

The Dream Team is one of six bidding to participate in the government’s K-UAM Grand Challenge, a planned series of flight demonstrations intended to enable commercialization of UAM in Korea beginning in 2025.

The Dream Team includes telecommunications provider SK telecom, defense and electronics company Hanwha Systems, airport operator Korea Airports and ride-hailing platform provider TMap Mobility.

The main goal of the MoU is to conduct public relations activities is support of Busan’s bid for Expo 2030, including providing a UAM simulator for use at domestic and foreign exhibitions including the on-site inspection by the Expo organizers, Bureau International des Expositions.

The Ministry says its aim is to create public enthusiasm for hosting the World Expo and showcase Korea’s technological prowess in UAM “to differentiate itself from competing countries such as Saudi Arabia.”

Other major events providing a focus for plans to deploy UAM services include the Vatican’s 2025 Jubilee, for which Rome plans to launch UAM service between Fiumicino Airport and the city center in late 2024, and the Milan Cortina 2026 Winter Olympics, for which Italy plans to develop a UAM network in Northern Italy.

Graham Warwick

Graham leads Aviation Week's coverage of technology, focusing on engineering and technology across the aerospace industry, with a special focus on identifying technologies of strategic importance to aviation, aerospace and defense.