South Korean advanced air mobility (AAM) group MintAir has created four-dimensional maps to develop routes for drones and passenger-carrying electric aircraft in the city of Seongnam. The company, which last month said it plans to buy 50 of Electra’s nine-passenger eSTOL aircraft, has partnered with software specialist WeMap and city officials to produce the maps, which it will use for the country’s K-UAM Grand Challenge flight demonstration in 2024 and for subsequent commercial operations.
During the Housing Expo trade show in late September, the partners used a commercial drone to demonstrate how the 4D map plots routes through the city. They say the technology will now be used to develop passenger and cargo air services using MintAir’s planned hub in Seongnam, which is a high-tech suburb of Korea’s capital, Seoul.
The map was constructed through voxelization, which is a process for converting data structures that store geometric information in a continuous domain into an image. It shows precise flying corridors for uncrewed air vehicles and piloted aircraft that would enable emergency route changes and prevent collisions with obstacles such as high buildings.
South Korea’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport is organizing the K-UAM Grand Challenge as part of its efforts to support the development of AAM services. MintAir is participating in the program through its partnership with the Lotte group of real estate, construction, and data communication companies.
Besides adding Electra’s eSTOL aircraft to its fleet, MintAir has plans to employ Jaunt Air Mobility’s four-passenger Journey eVTOL aircraft. In addition, it has exclusive rights to distribute Skyworks Aeronautics’s eHawk electric gyrocopter in Korea.
“Our mission is to develop the safest advanced air mobility service in both urban and regional routes and the demonstration of the 4D AAM map solution is an important step forward to achieving this mission,” said MintAir CEO and founder Eugene Choi. “We have successfully demonstrated a critical enabling technology for the safe operation of AAM services in urban routes.”