Lotte joins consortium to work on flying cars
Lotte tapped in to the urban air mobility (UAM) business with a consortium of Korean and U.S. industry-academia groups.
A consortium was formed on Tuesday that includes Lotte Corp., Lotte Rental, MintAir, the Incheon Metropolitan City, the Institute for Aerospace Industry-Academia Collaboration (IAIAC), Skyworks Aeronautics and Mobius.Energy.
Members of the consortium gathered at the 2021 K-UAM Confex exhibition held in Yeongjongdo, Incheon to sign a partnership agreement.
The consortium plans to conduct test flights of electric-powered UAM vehicles starting in 2022 and operate vehicles on the route between Incheon International Airport and Jamsil, southern Seoul, by 2024. The vehicles will be for both passenger and cargo.
Chicago-based gyroplane manufacturer Skyworks Aeronautics will be in charge of making UAM vehicles and California’s Mobius.Energy will focus on developing battery modules.
MintAir, a local air mobility start-up, will manage the vehicles. Incheon Metropolitan City and IAIAC will help with test flights.
Lotte Rental will construct infrastructure for UAM with the help of Lotte Corp. It will build facilities such as "vertiports" — take-off and landing stations designated for UAM — and vehicle charging stations ahead of commercialization.
With UAM expected to lead the future mobility industry, Lotte Rental plans to newly establish a Mobility Division that focuses on UAM at the end of the year.
“We have joined the consortium to prepare for the upcoming era of UAM,” said Lee Dong-woo, CEO of Lotte Corp. “Lotte Group, including Lotte Rental, will invest relevant resources and use our capabilities to successfully carry out demonstration projects with the consortium.”
Lotte’s subsidiaries have been expanding into the mobility business.
Lotte Rental signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with autonomous driving start-up 42dot and invested 25 billion won ($21 million) in August. The two have been working to offer mobility services such as renting electric vehicles (EVs) and autonomous cars or using the vehicles for deliveries. It also signed an MOU with LG Energy Solution to develop EV battery fast-charging stations.
In June, the government granted approval to Lotte Data Communication for trial operations of an autonomous shuttle bus. That was the first time an autonomous vehicle without a driver’s seat was given approval in Korea.
BY LEE TAE-HEE [firstname.lastname@example.org]