SK Telecom and Coactus help taxi drivers with hearing loss

Coactus SK Telecom
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio

SK Telecom and Coactus held an online press conference to share how they have been working together to create social value over the last two years and to introduce Coactus’s special ride-hailing service powered by SK Telecom’s cutting-edge ICT.

Coactus is a social venture operating Goyohan Taxi, a taxi service driven by deaf drivers, in Korea since June 2018. To make customers feel more comfortable towards deaf drivers, it equipped the taxis with tablets installed with an app that enables smooth communication between passengers and deaf taxi drivers.

With a shared vision to create social value through technological innovations, SK Telecom joined Coactus’s efforts to support people with hearing loss by upgrading the Goyohan Taxi service. 

The company not only connected the service to T Map Taxi, its taxi-hailing app, but also developed and applied a feature that provides flashing alerts to notify drivers of incoming calls as well as a messaging feature that enables communication between drivers and customers before starting a journey.

It also began operating a program to recruit and nurture deaf taxi drivers by providing education and training to help them obtain a taxi license to get a new job opportunity. So far, the program has produced a total of 62 taxi drivers.

SK Telecom is also running a special support center to address the challenges and difficulties deaf drivers experience on the job through video calls in sign language.

Their efforts led to international recognition and awards. In February 2020, the two companies won the ‘Best Use of Mobile for Accessibility & Inclusion’ category of the GSMA Global Mobile Awards 2020 (GLOMO Awards).

Today, SK Telecom and Coactus announced that they have extended their collaboration to introduce a new service developed for deaf drivers. Named Goyohan Mobility, the app-based ride-hailing service powered by SK Telecom’s advanced technologies will launch in Korea on August 1, 2020.

To enhance the safety and convenience of deaf drivers, SK Telecom equipped the vehicles with an advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) specially developed for deaf drivers, and provided the drivers with T Care Smart Watch, a smart device also tailored to their needs.

The ADAS provides forward collision, lane departure and pedestrian collision warnings not only on a display screen but also through vibration on T Care Smart Watch worn around the driver’s wrist. In emergency situations, drivers can simply press the SOS button on the smart watch to make immediate contact with the police and transmit the driver’s real-time location.

Goyohan Mobility is expected to create a stable work environment as the drivers will be hired directly by Coactus and receive monthly salaries. Coactus will start by operating a total of 10 vehicles driven by 15 deaf drivers, and plans to increase these numbers to 100 vehicles and 200 drivers by 2021.

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