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A global audience for CIVATAglobal’s first webinar on local authorities and urban air mobility

A global audience of around one hundred, a third of from local authorities, listened into first “Local Authorities and the UAM Challenge” webinar from CIVATAglobal on 3 March to hear Emma Warner-Reed, of UK law firm Davitt Jones Bould, Vassilis Agouridas, Leader of the UAM Initiative, EU Smart Cities Marketplace (UIC2) and Sunil Budhdeo, Transport Innovation Manager, Coventry City Council, debate the roles and responsibilities of local authorities in respect to urban air mobility.

“We need to consider whether there should be a framework in place for the civil aviation regulator to delegate the governance of airspace management to the local authority,” according Emma Warner-Reed, “and local authorities should be part of the process of shaping national regulatory processes for drone use.” But do national aviation regulators have the capacity and the local knowledge to deal with the micro-management of Class G airspace operations, she asked? If they do not, they will need to delegate it. But this will have to be agreed.

The cities of the European Union’s UAM Initiative Cities Community (UIC2) have very clear ideas on what their roles should be within the UAM eco-system, according to Vassilis Agouridas. For the community of UIC2 cities, UAM will need to fit into their overall future smart city transport planning strategies. “If we cannot provide an interface between the air and the ground what will be the benefit of UAM to citizens?” he asked. “UAM offers new possibilities but new responsibilities for local authorities.”

According to the webinar chair Andrew Charlton, Director General of CIVATAglobal, cities are responsible for planning and managing all the horizontal transport modes – including mandating propulsion systems – but the vertical transport mode will somehow have to be different.

One local authority in the UK, Coventry City council, is taking a lead by building a UAM vertiport this year and then looking at the real-world challenges and opportunities such a structure will mean for the local authority - read more here.

According to Sunil Budhdeo, Transport Innovation Manager, Coventry City Council: “Part of the process of building the Coventry vertiport is to help us, the government and other local authorities understand what changes are required – what legislative changes and planning applications are required.” The structure will help the local authority understand what height drones and air taxis will fly at and what the impact will be of building a vertiport within a new distribution centre, or a housing estate – where a drone vertiport could be an integral part of the local authority’s planning policy of reducing road traffic deliveries.

If you missed the event, it is now available free of charge, and on demand.


CIVATAglobal would like to say thank you to our excellent sponsors:

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