Can we make Urban air mobility The People’s Choice?
If the urban air mobility industry is to take off around the world within a timescale that meets the investors’ expectations there will have to be a cultural as well as a technological transformation.
There are four very different cultural forces acting on this sector.
In pole position is Silicon Valley, agile engineering companies working on “let’s just do it anyway” and “we’ll sort out the mistakes as we go along” principles which provide a key driver to the industry.
Then comes the aviation industry, manufacturers, operators, regulators. Here the mantra is: “We must move at pace but also consider how these new technologies can operate within the successful safety regulatory system we have developed – what is the target level of safety? What back up systems shall we employ? How can we refine our performance based regulations to take on board engineering concepts beyond the scope of our regulators?”
Third on the grid are the cities – some of whom will want urban air mobility services tomorrow and others, never.
Finally, there is society, 99.9% of whom are unfamiliar with the concept, the possibilities and the risks.
Over the last ten years there has grown a gap between the aviation industry and the needs of the societies it serves. For many, aviation has become the poster child of elitist, polluting and wasteful big business, especially among green and left-of centre parties. But with its impeccable green credentials and the potential to make UAM an affordable, safe and efficient transport option the potential is there to rebuild bridges. First stop? Let’s get the backing of Europe green parties for UAM.
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