“We need to think more deeply about how we engage local communities in UAM”
Two important new study initiatives on how to engage non-aviation stakeholders in UAM operations have been launched in the last few days.
The first, from NASA’s Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate (ARMD) is requesting help from industry and other associated organisations to:
Communicate the current and future state of the advanced air mobility (AAM) ecosystem and align on terminology, challenges, barriers, and solutions.
Provide a forum to forge collaborative opportunities to advance the state of the art AAM, including establishing new industry partnerships.
Increase awareness of NASA’s research and planned transition paths.
Develop a NASA-curated “Book of Requirements” for AAM technology, systems, and operations.
Support discussions of regulatory and standards development activities at the federal, state, and local level.
Inform the community on the current state of the industry to identify research gaps and areas of highest industry need.
Engage the public on AAM, including stakeholders from state and local governments.
NASA is seeking public, private, and academic organizations to collaborate with NASA in Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) ecosystem working groups, focused on enabling the AAM ecosystem. The primary purpose of the AAM ecosystem working groups is to share input, information and opinions that may help to accelerate the development of safe, high-volume AAM flight operations in the existing and anticipated future national airspace system.
The second initiative is the publication of the Sky Limits joint research project run by Technische Universität Berlin and Wissenschaft im Dialog, which has addressed the opportunities, challenges and risks associated with the possible use of delivery drones and air taxis in cities. The project, “The sky is the limit – future use of urban airspace”, funded by Germany’s Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), delivered the following twelve recommendations as a plan of action for the possible integration of delivery drones and air taxis into urban airspace in Germany.
The debate about the use of drones for deliveries and individual ransport must become more objective and more detailed.
The competing images of the future must be considered and negotiations must pay attention to these diverging images of the use of delivery drones and air taxis.
The debate must be widened out to take in society as a whole because drone flights are always public.
The inclusion of the population must be formalised, for example by convening citizens’ assemblies.
It must be recognised that, at present, the population is not in favour of the introduction of delivery drones and air taxis to deliver consumer goods and transport people.
It must be appreciated that, currently, the implementation of drone technology is only acceptable in medical emergencies.
The real added value of delivery drones and air taxis must be made more plausible for the population and the development of the technology must be guided by the needs of the population.
Continuing in-depth technology assessment must be carried out on the potential use of delivery drones and air taxis.
A conceptual guiding principle must be agreed which embeds the use of delivery drones and air taxis within a paradigm of sustainable and integrated transport.
Policy-making must be proactive and promote the development of clear air traffic management rules before drone technology is introduced.
Local authorities must be alerted to the issue and equipped with greater structuring and management abilities for a potential introduction of delivery drones and air taxis.
A German drone charter must be drafted to ensure that the use of airspace by delivery drones and air taxis is guided by the common good.
Both initiatives are calling for more precise, more measured and more inclusive engagements between aviation industries/regulators and communities in advancing UAM. CIVATAGlobal welcomes and supports both important studies.