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A Joby Aviation UAM aircraft in a test flight

Dubai of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) will promote the operation of air taxis based on urban air mobility (UAM). Joby Aviation in the United States, which is SK Group’s UAM partner, will supply the UAM aircraft. 

The government of Dubai will install four vertiports for UAM aircraft’s take-off and landing at Dubai International Airport and downtown, and introduce UAM taxi cabs. The target year of service launch is 2026. The government of Dubai plans to connect the UAM service with the capital of Abu Dhabi and new Al Maktoum International Airport based on initial operational results.

Joby Aviation was founded in 2009. In 2021, it increased its size by merging Uber’s flying car division. It developed UAM airframe eVTOL that travels at 320 km/h at a height of 300 to 600 meters and signed partnerships with a number of global companies. It is participating in a Korean UAM commercialization project by partnering with SK Telecom. 

Like an electric vehicle, electric vertical take-off landing (eVTOL) aircraft are powered by batteries. Joby Aviation received approval from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) as an air transport operator in 2022 and is in the process of receiving an additional certification. Although Joby Aviation’s aircraft has not been mass-produced yet, SK On batteries are highly likely to power the aircraft to be supplied at home and abroad in the future. Even during test flights, Joby Aviation always powered its aircraft with SK On batteries.

SK On will focus only on the electric vehicle battery business. It is in contrast to competitors such as LG Energy Solution and Samsung SDI, who are pumping up their efforts on the energy storage system (ESS), power tool and outdoor power equipment (OPE) markets where demand for batteries is explosively increasing. Industry analysts expect SK On to pick ESSs and batteries for UAM aircraft as next-generation growth drivers. 

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