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Suggested Citation:"Summary." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Advancing Aerial Mobility: A National Blueprint. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25646.


Worldwide, there is a dramatic increase in the adoption of electric and hybrid aircraft for urban, suburban, and rural operations—what is commonly referred to as advanced aerial mobility. Advanced aerial mobility involves the emergence of transformative and disruptive new airborne technology supporting an ecosystem designed to transport people and things to locations not traditionally served by current modes of air transportation, including both rural and the more challenging and complex urban environments.1 Incremental developments in many different fields such as computer software, electronics and sensors, energy storage, and electric aircraft are in the works. These technologies are transformative and promise to change the way that cargo and people are moved, affecting industries across the economy. The aircraft that are being developed are short-range, runway independent, and highly automated.

The use of electric motors and simplified electric controls to replace the complex transmissions and elaborate flight-critical components can dramatically reduce the number of flight-critical components, improving mechanical reliability. This promises to substantially reduce the manufacturing and operating costs of flight vehicles. This innovation in air vehicle design could enable a number of missions in urban and other environments that are now conducted by ground vehicles. Electric propulsion and increasingly automated flight may also improve safety, simplify maintenance and operation, lower noise, and improve ease of use.

Hundreds of different air vehicles are being developed with more than a dozen vehicle projects receiving major investment from private industry; these air vehicles are being developed by traditional aerospace companies as well as by many new entrants with little or no prior aviation experience. Many of these vehicle concepts are in very early stages of development. These entrepreneurs are creating a class of vehicles that have the attributes to succeed in changing transportation operations and can lead to fundamentally new capabilities. This new industry of vertical lift operations, the supporting ground infrastructure, and the required air traffic management systems will seriously challenge today’s airspace monitoring systems and regulatory environment. The National Aeronautics


1 Although the statement of task referred to “urban air mobility,” while this study was under way the aviation community—and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration itself—increasingly used the term “advanced aerial mobility,” of which “urban air mobility” is considered a subset (albeit the most challenging one). The committee therefore chose to use advanced aerial mobility to capture the broader range of opportunities and operations that are being discussed. The committee would not change the report in any way if it were to change the focus to urban air mobility only. The findings and recommendations hold true for both advanced aerial mobility and urban air mobility. But the committee did feel it important to recognize that there are opportunities to start with non-urban areas and activities and to indicate that the benefits of these new technologies are not only to urban areas. This report does not address concepts like unpiloted air transports, supersonic, hypersonic, and electrified aviation. In addition, small drones operating in Class A airspace generally do fall into the definition of aerial mobility.

Suggested Citation:"Summary." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Advancing Aerial Mobility: A National Blueprint. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25646.

and Space Administration (NASA) is uniquely qualified to provide the technical guidance for the U.S. government and its regulatory agencies like the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), among others, to facilitate the adoption of these technologies and to create the regulatory framework to foster the growth of this vertical flight industry for the benefit of the aviation industry.

In early 2019, NASA asked the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to conduct a study and develop a vision of the future of “urban air mobility” (UAM). (See the statement of task for the Committee on Enhancing Air Mobility in Appendix A.) The committee determined that UAM is but one subset in a much broader field of advanced aerial mobility, and NASA’s own publications and management have adopted this broader term. Advanced aerial mobility can include providing services to rural and exurban areas as well as the more challenging urban areas.


Advanced aerial mobility can bring about transformation in a number of industries (e.g., transportation, emergency response, and cargo/package logistics). However, it is important to ensure that societal benefits and costs of implementation are well understood using scenario-based analyses to assist, as all the applications will most likely not be evident until deployment is under way and users adapt to new capabilities. Being able to communicate benefits will aid in public acceptance and community outreach. NASA can play a key role, working with other involved government agencies as well as academia.

New capabilities can trigger missions beyond air taxi and package express, so that they might very well include security patrols for safety, rapid response for emergencies and fires, police patrol, and even the delivery of life-saving medicines during emergencies. It is possible that, like the cell phone and the computer, new and as yet unseen missions filling what will become important economic issues, can be enabled as this new aerial technology develops.

The committee believes that the commercial cargo market appears to be one of the visible “initial adopters” of autonomous air vehicle technology/capability for rural domestic cargo operations. This would include “last mile” local package delivery and “middle mile” cargo as one of the first applications fielded by companies, including those that will ultimately deliver something to an end-customer.

Recommendation: NASA should, within the next year, establish strategic partnerships with first adopter cargo logistics providers and relevant manufacturers. The partners should focus on maturation of technologies aimed at deploying autonomous cargo drone delivery of small, medium, and large size within 3 years. (Chapter 3)


The committee’s vision of the future airspace system does not necessarily constrict any class vehicle to one restricted block of airspace; in fact, the committee and the majority of those interviewed embrace the concept of using technology to network all vehicle types to control traffic, separation, and paths. For this reason, it does not envision different infrastructures but rather one infrastructure that has levels of complexity based on the user of that infrastructure. The committee believes that, properly harnessed, a data sharing network of flight vehicles can achieve breakthrough airspace allocations. This future data sharing network can be seen as a utility provided for the advanced aerial mobility operators to facilitate their best utilization, promote safety, and provide practical traffic management and separation without burdening each vehicle with multiple sensors and their reliability, weight, and cost.

As an illustration of this digital network concept, through digital means, FedEx handles over 20 million pieces each day in the week prior to Christmas and controls and tracks each piece within a few meters throughout their journey. Similarly, Google uses networked cell phone tracking to create a real-time traffic reporting system across the United States that accurately displays trip times on all major roads.

It is important to consider a phased, iterative approach to development, testing, and introduction of new capabilities. It is not reasonable for a system of this degree of multidisciplinary complexity, with as many stakeholders

Suggested Citation:"Summary." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Advancing Aerial Mobility: A National Blueprint. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25646.

involved (including the general public) and with regulatory involvement at every step, to self-assemble out of a mass of uncoordinated innovation efforts. Rather, coordination leading to interoperability and standards is essential.

Recommendation: NASA, in coordination with the FAA, should perform research to extend unmanned aircraft system traffic management concepts to accommodate emerging advanced aerial mobility traffic in all classes of airspace. (Chapter 3)


The FAA has a sole mandate to promote safety in the National Airspace System and the authority as regulator over the airspace system. Other federal agencies have an interest in the National Airspace System, whether for national security, environment, or other factors. NASA has research capability but no authority to regulate or decide on technology implementation for the National Airspace System. This arrangement has proven effective at driving exceptional safety, but it constrains aviation to a modest evolutionary pace. Maturing technologies are creating transformational new capabilities in flight that promise to expand the use cases for aviation across the economy and increase the scale of activity in the National Airspace System by orders of magnitude. While U.S. leadership in aerospace is in the national interest, no entity within the U.S. government has the clear mandate to promote commercial aviation or the development, adoption, and commercialization of new technologies or applications thereof.

Implementing a versatile advanced aerial mobility system with multiple applications and users is a complex, multidisciplinary challenge. No entity, public or private, possesses all the necessary skills. Nor does any single entity currently have sufficient oversight/responsibility to effectively make advanced aerial mobility a reality, while maximizing societal benefits, within the next 3-5 years.

Historically, the United States has led the world in aviation technology. Through a mix of strong academic investment in human and research capital, the development of critical artificial intelligence and autonomous technologies, and the availability of investment capital and the technical savvy of investors, the United States is potentially poised to continue this trend. Also of importance is the U.S. urban/suburban/rural social and physical infrastructure, which appears ready to support new modes of aerial transportation.

Another advantage the United States has, in the development of these new technologies, is a strong and knowledgeable government regulatory establishment, with FAA, Department of Defense (DoD), and NASA technologists who are prepared to lead with guidelines. What is needed to assure continued U.S. leadership is a clear statement of national will and a clear master plan and national commitment to execute it.

Recommendation: In order to formulate a U.S. Joint Advanced Aerial Mobility Master Plan, NASA and FAA should form a partnership to manage responsibility and accountability across the various stakeholders to participate in the development of the Master Plan.


NASA is widely viewed as an objective, respected repository of knowledge and research capability, a trusted leader in new concepts for airspace management and aeronautics, and an honest broker in promoting U.S. leadership in aerospace. Admittedly, NASA has limited authority to translate ideas into implementation. The FAA has the most authority to implement, and other federal agencies such as the Federal Communications Commission, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Department of Homeland Security, DoD, Department of the Interior, and U.S. Department of Agriculture are key stakeholders. But NASA and the FAA have a long partnership, and NASA can serve as a risk-taking, innovative partner to the FAA in the development of advanced aerial mobility.

Popular media attention to advanced aerial mobility topics usually focuses on home package delivery by small electric aircraft, and urban air taxi services. However, urban air taxi service for the general public, due to its requirements for vehicle performance, safety, sophisticated operations, infrastructure, operating costs, and system scale and tempo, is one of the most demanding applications of advanced aerial mobility. It is an attractive application once the system capabilities are in place. However, it is not possible to implement UAM or achieve its vision without first building and gaining experience in other less demanding areas of advanced aerial mobility. This is already

Suggested Citation:"Summary." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Advancing Aerial Mobility: A National Blueprint. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25646.

happening: during the course of this study, several new commercial test operations involving package delivery in rural areas began, or were announced, and several new piloted passengers-carrying vehicles were unveiled.

The committee believes that the current development plan for this infrastructure change involves a graduated set of applications, starting today with less challenging and more controlled lower-density locations as test cases for the development of vehicles, control schemes, and networking concepts. The plan is to solve basic issues first, then gradually increase complexity by bringing the fielded solutions into more suburban and then urban environments, where increased population, obstruction density, and traffic density create more challenges. The committee believes that to restrict the discussion only to urban operations defeats this natural development progression and creates the impression that only urban environments warrant examination and will benefit. Additionally, the concepts that were presented to the committee by the developers of actual flight systems did not differentiate these vehicles by their operating environment; the developers are bringing the same class of vehicles into the urban, rural, and mixed market arenas.

The committee concluded that numerous other applications that are less demanding can serve as opportunities to build experience and refine technology on the way to establishing the full set of capabilities required for urban air taxi services. These applications can also play an important role in establishing societal acceptance of the technology. Near-term applications can include cargo delivery, inspection, and surveillance operations in less densely populated areas. Applications can include emergency medical services, first responders, disaster relief, corporate transport, cargo logistics, and others. Given the new capabilities that technology delivers to flight, the applications of advanced aerial mobility are wide-reaching and difficult to foresee.


Achieving this positive vision for advanced aerial mobility will not be easy. Acceptance of advanced aerial mobility technology will be especially challenging unless significant coordination, education, and agreement is obtained with public and private entities. It will take major changes to current aviation systems, particularly in how the National Airspace System safely integrates new technologies to manage and integrate operations at high traffic densities. In some ways, the nation is not ready for this transformation, and there are serious barriers to entry by new participants, such as small start-ups. There are mismatches between the exuberance of entrepreneurs and early investors and the realities of implementation, such as traversing an aircraft certification system that has developed over generations to address more traditional forms of air transport. There are also potential negative impacts such as community noise concerns, introduction of new safety risks, an increased carbon footprint, and other related societal concerns.2

Success of advanced aerial mobility systems will be dependent on several factors if they are to be accepted from an economic, social, and regulatory standpoint. Some of these factors are as follows:

  • Safety. Advanced aerial mobility will have to demonstrate the high safety levels expected by the public for modern air transportation systems.
  • Security. Emerging technologies present new cybersecurity risks and vulnerabilities that will have to be managed.
  • Social acceptance. New products or services applying advanced aerial mobility must gain the trust and support of the public, taking into account multiple factors.
  • Resilience. Contingency management, the ability to manage the expected and the capability to recover from the unexpected, will be a key to success.
  • Environmental impacts. Factors such as noise and visual impact from air vehicles on the environment and nonparticipants, as well as greenhouse gas emissions and any associated air pollutant emissions, will have to be minimized to acceptable levels.


2 See M. Basner, C. Clark, A. Hansell, J.I. Hileman, S. Janssen, K. Shepherd, and V. Sparrow, 2017, Aviation noise impacts: State of the science, Noise Health 19(87):41-50. See also R. Cointin, N. Sizov, and J.I. Hileman, 2016, “U.S. Civil Aircraft Noise Annoyance Survey Design,” presented at Inter Noise, Hamburg, See, generally, the Pennsylvania State University’s “NoiseQuest” website at

Suggested Citation:"Summary." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Advancing Aerial Mobility: A National Blueprint. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25646.
  • Regulation. New rules to accommodate the technology as well as to define its integration into the National Airspace System will have to be created.
  • Scalability. Any successful approach to advanced aerial mobility will need the capability to scale as the market segments emerge and grow.
  • Flexibility. With any disruptive new initiative, flexibility is critical as new use cases and operational concepts emerge.


A National Airspace System that delivers safety, increasingly autonomous system access, and scalability yet that makes few constraining assumptions about specific anticipated flight operations will deliver flexibility to explore applications of advanced aerial mobility and to adapt gracefully to future increases in scale and capability. Although the National Airspace System is the FAA’s responsibility, the committee concluded that NASA can play an important role in achieving the increase in scale and capability of the National Airspace System.

A definition of a series of successively more complex capability milestones and the architectural components of the system that will support them is needed. These requirements sets embody progressively more sophisticated operations in the National Airspace System that deliver increased capabilities and scale to the system. These requirements sets serve as a target for standards development and the systems based on them, and ultimately new flight rules sets for the National Airspace System. Architectural decisions include specifications sufficient for future standards and implementation development in areas such as the following:

  • System architecture framework—defining the principal elements, functions, and interfaces of the system;
  • Communications—assumed communications capabilities, including decisions for spectrum, data exchange, and cybersecurity standards;
  • Approaches to adapting architectural function and components over time; and
  • Evolution of existing safety evaluation approaches.

Recommendation: NASA should prioritize research that develops architectures, requirements, and supporting technologies to enable integrating advanced aerial mobility into a future National Airspace System. (Chapter 3)


While certification of vehicles and integration into the airspace system will be challenging, there are additional barriers to consider. Public acceptance of advanced aerial mobility, particularly noise aspects and its psychological factors, is perhaps one of the biggest challenges along with safety. Failure to address these issues could hinder advanced aerial mobility implementation. Noise from aircraft and other transportation modes is a complex topic spanning acoustics, the physiological way humans experience noise, and the psychological perceptions listeners have of the source of the noise and what it represents to them. A large body of research spanning this area has been conducted over the past century, with learning outcomes relevant to modern aviation. Early operations may start with a less intense acoustical impact on bystanders (e.g., less frequent operations in rural areas) and with strong positive social impact (e.g., emergency medical services, search and rescue, and disaster relief). These applications can be a valuable test bed to learn and refine low-noise operations as well as to actively shape positive public perception of the technology.

Recommendation: Research should be performed to quantify and mitigate public annoyance due to noise, including psychoacoustic and health aspects, from different types of advanced aerial mobility operations. NASA should facilitate a collaboration between relevant government agencies—including FAA, Department of Defense, National Institutes of Health, academia, state and local governments, industry, original equipment manufacturers, operators, and nonprofit organizations—to prioritize and conduct the research, with responsibility allocated per a coordinated plan and accountability for delivery incorporated. The research should be completed in 2 years. (Chapter 2)

Suggested Citation:"Summary." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Advancing Aerial Mobility: A National Blueprint. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25646.

Recommendation: NASA should facilitate a collaboration with other relevant government agencies—the FAA, Department of Commerce, and Environmental Protection Agency—and industry—original equipment manufacturers and operators as well as academia and nonprofit organizations—to conduct scenario-based studies to assess societal impacts (e.g., privacy, intrusion, public health and welfare, transparency, environmental, inequity) of advanced aerial mobility vehicles and associated infrastructure. These studies should recommend a path to implementation that prioritizes maximum public benefits. (Chapter 2)


The NASA National Campaign (formerly Grand Challenge) program seeks to improve advanced aerial mobility safety and accelerate scalability through integrated demonstrations of candidate operational concepts and scenarios. This goal is supported by five overarching objectives: Accelerate Certification and Approval; Develop Flight Procedure Guidelines; Evaluate the Communication, Navigation, and Surveillance Trade-Space; Demonstrate an Airspace Operations Management Architecture; and Characterize Vehicle Noise. NASA’s continual refinement of the National Campaign program based on feedback of industry as central players is commendable (and essential) given the many opportunities (but unknowns) related to new entrants and entrepreneurial approaches.

One of NASA’s priorities for the National Campaign is to pioneer the research, systems, and concepts of operations to enable advanced aerial mobility in the National Airspace System. This is a critical enabler with benefits for all, as it will assist in driving clarity from regulators with respect to system architecture, operations, and regulatory requirements. However, the structure and schedule of the National Campaign to drive these goals means that many companies are either unable or unwilling to participate. An additional outgrowth of NASA’s work in the National Campaign program is the generation of data, best practices, and resources focused on advanced aerial mobility, and other findings that are valuable to all U.S. participants in the industry. If captured and disseminated effectively, these assets can accelerate progress across the industry and promote continued U.S. leadership in aerospace.

Recommendation: In partnership with industry, NASA should continue building on and enhancing the National Campaign program and develop its learning outcomes into formalized best practices, tools, resources, and training programs available to all U.S. stakeholders. (Chapter 3)


Testing and simulation capabilities today are not adequate to ensure safety in complex, software-intensive autonomous systems. Traditional testing and simulation alone are not adequate to ensure safety in complex, software-intensive systems like advanced aerial mobility. Traditional hazard analysis and safety engineering modeling and analysis tools are not adequate to assess and certify such complex systems. NASA, in coordination with the FAA, can provide education on the need for new approaches beyond testing and simulation to the advanced aerial mobility development community.

Recommendation: In coordination with the FAA, NASA should support research on new, more powerful safety analysis tools that are widely used today that can be applied to software-intensive advanced systems. (Chapter 4)

Current cybersecurity approaches that rely on threat analysis, maintaining impenetrable boundaries, and focusing primarily on information security will not be adequate for advanced aerial mobility missions involving safety-critical operations performed by automated systems. Current airworthiness hardware and software cybersecurity techniques do not accommodate advanced aerial mobility platforms. NASA has initiated research into the area of complex autonomous systems to include leveraging of cybersecurity-related investigations performed by other agencies. The committee believes that this is important research.

Recommendation: NASA should conduct research and development on cybersecurity for advanced aerial mobility systems. (Chapter 4)

Suggested Citation:"Summary." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Advancing Aerial Mobility: A National Blueprint. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25646.

NASA does not establish standards, which are the purview of the FAA. Nevertheless, NASA demonstrates techniques, which are then incorporated into certification policy or standards, and those in turn are adopted by FAA.

Recommendation: Working with the FAA certification experts, NASA should develop potential software and hardware certification techniques and guidelines to verify and validate the performance of complex software and hardware, including nondeterministic functionality. This NASA research into methods to demonstrate performance will provide valuable input to the FAA, including material for advisory circulars, to help applicants in the certification process. (Chapter 4)


Due to the expected increase in the number of aircraft operations per day, and an observed steady-to-decreasing pilot training pipeline, autonomy for contingency management will be an essential component of advanced aerial mobility. Contingency management is the capability to manage, reduce, or eliminate unanticipated risk to persons, property, or other aircraft due to off-nominal events associated with vehicle operations. Encoding well-established contingency management procedures into autonomy will provide a rich baseline capability for automated contingency management in the near term. These procedures can be certified using a combination of existing and emerging certification practices to provide assurance that they will activate and execute safely and correctly. Software-based evaluation tools can be applied to rigorously evaluate autonomy for well-defined deterministic contingency management to reduce the manpower and cost required to use today’s certification practices.

Real-time data processing will be required to enable appropriate autonomous perception, decision-making, and action outcomes in contingency management cases not recognized and matched with established procedures. In such cases, pilots, especially inexperienced pilots, would also be required to ingest real-time data and adapt their situational understanding and decisions in real time. No guarantees of correct response are possible when either autonomy or pilots must learn in real time, yet learning and acting offers a better chance of survival or recovery than shutting down.

Advanced aerial mobility will typically rely on a variety of real-time data sources for detect and avoid, traffic coordination, and access to data updates—for example, weather and winds. Cyber resilience, the ability for a vehicle or local vehicle group to safely continue a flight operation despite loss or corruption of one or more datalinks or server connections, is an essential component of advanced aerial mobility contingency management.

Recommendation: NASA should conduct research, development, and testing of autonomy for contingency management to support safe advanced aerial mobility. (Chapter 4)


A key aspect of advanced aerial mobility is that it enables new applications for which aircraft were previously not feasible. The operational details of what works best for these new applications is not well understood. There is a lack of suitable flight-testing capability today. Unmanned aircraft must be tested under special conditions, which in most cases requires flight testing at purpose-built test ranges or, in some cases, in restricted airspace. This demand for testing implies a need for locations where companies can do extended testing and development with ongoing consistent access to airspace, the ability to access and modify infrastructure on the ground to support flight test scenarios and application development, and overall ease of access to the test range and ease of working at the range.

Recommendation: NASA, in coordination with the FAA, should make allocations of facility resources and airspace and regulatory accommodations to establish a continuous flight test capability that supports rapid development of the following:

  • Air vehicles;
  • Flight operations practices;
  • Surveillance and communications technologies/networks;
Suggested Citation:"Summary." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Advancing Aerial Mobility: A National Blueprint. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25646.
  • Air traffic management systems, leveraging Unmanned Aircraft System Traffic Management construct and lessons;
  • System-wide management systems;
  • Noise reduction technologies and operations; and
  • Ground infrastructure specific to various applications.

This flight test capability should be designed to enable industry to innovate and commercialize its platforms/applications more rapidly. This effort can build on the progress and assets already in place from existing test range programs. (Chapter 5)


Construction of new heliports, vertiports, or other ground infrastructure will be costly and complex due to a lack of clarity in regulatory requirements for public facilities. There are tens of thousands of underutilized airports and large tracts of abandoned real estate throughout the country that could be converted for use by service providers. Although many new air mobility vehicles do not require runways, they can benefit from zoning, infrastructure, and airspace regulations that already exist at these airports and heliports. The FAA is soliciting industry through a formal request for information to create standards for vertiport design. Infrastructure enabling a UAM system will include vertiports, vehicle hangar and maintenance areas, and associated recharging/refueling infrastructure. A vertiport is a facility for allowing takeoff and landing of vertical aircraft. Because many of the aircraft that are currently envisioned may not have people onboard, are smaller than most helicopters, and may only carry small amounts of cargo, they may not be as large and structurally robust as heliports, although they may place other demands on infrastructure such as the requirement for electric recharging. A robust UAM system would have a multitude of vertiports serving a metropolitan area; hence, UAM infrastructure will necessarily be distributed rather than centralized.

Public-private partnership arrangements could be used to enable growth of distributed UAM infrastructure in a metropolitan area, while enabling this infrastructure to be a common carrier for different types of vehicles from different firms. This would enable competition and innovation in the UAM system.

Recommendation: A public-private partnership should be established to facilitate advanced aerial mobility implementation in a virtual environment to deliver as a near-term capability to define mobility systems and infrastructure requirements. This virtual environment should complement physical flight and operations testing. The partnership should be coordinated by NASA, in collaboration with the FAA and with coordinated allocation of responsibility among the FAA and other relevant agencies, industry (i.e., original equipment manufacturers and operators), and standards development setting organizations. For example, the group could focus on developing guidelines and solicitations for advanced aerial mobility infrastructure deployment. (Chapter 5)

The pace of demand growth will outrun the ability of any monolithic airspace system design to adapt and grow to meet the need, particularly if overseen solely by the public sector. It is thus of prime importance to enable and mobilize the private sector to innovate on higher performance airspace management technologies. As technology history has shown, this can be done, in part, with the public sector leading the research on the system topology and the protocols, data formats, and data exchange standards that define the broader system and giving private sector participants certainty as to what objectives to innovate toward.

Data exchange for advanced aerial mobility is diverse in content, size, and real-time update requirements. Detect and avoid and separation assurance applications require a common geospatial framework for aircraft state updates as well as communicating intent and air traffic control directives.

No public entity exists today with authority to establish and manage data standards for aviation data exchange. Standing up such a group would facilitate both the creation and evolution of data content and formats as advanced aerial mobility technologies and operations evolve.

Suggested Citation:"Summary." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Advancing Aerial Mobility: A National Blueprint. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25646.

Recommendation: A working group comprised of NASA, industry, academia, and the standards development organizations should prioritize research on the protocols, data formats, and data exchange standards that support advanced aerial mobility vehicles in a geospatial real-time system supporting safety-critical operations across the National Airspace System. The intent should be that the tools developed will provide the necessary clarity to catalyze and enable commercialization of system components by industry. (Chapter 5)


This report is organized into five chapters. Chapter 1 is an introduction to the subject of advanced aerial mobility. It presents a broad overview of the concept of advanced aerial mobility and how this development fits into the continuing history of aviation in the United States. Chapter 2 describes a vision for advanced aerial mobility, including the essential characteristics that advanced aerial mobility must embody, and along with Chapter 1 develops and discusses an overall vision for advanced aerial mobility. Chapter 3 discusses how to create an environment where initial operators can develop the market in collaboration with federal agencies. Chapter 4 details the critical developments necessary for a safe and secure advanced aerial mobility network and how advanced aerial mobility will need significant research into safety analysis tools for automated aircraft, for cybersecurity, and for contingency management. Chapters 2, 3, and 4 identify the barriers to achieving this vision and consider the impact of entrepreneurial approaches to advanced aerial mobility systems and how NASA can facilitate those efforts. Last, Chapter 5 projects a path forward for implementing advanced aerial mobility. It discusses how to achieve the vision of advanced aerial mobility for the country by overcoming institutional barriers, establishing public-private partnerships, and accommodating advanced aerial mobility vehicle development and deployment in the national airspace.

Suggested Citation:"Summary." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Advancing Aerial Mobility: A National Blueprint. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25646.
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Suggested Citation:"Summary." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Advancing Aerial Mobility: A National Blueprint. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25646.
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Suggested Citation:"Summary." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Advancing Aerial Mobility: A National Blueprint. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25646.
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Suggested Citation:"Summary." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Advancing Aerial Mobility: A National Blueprint. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25646.
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Advanced aerial mobility is a newly emerging industry that aims to develop and operate new air vehicles potentially capable of safe, reliable, and low-noise vertical flight. The world has seen a recent increase in the adoption of electric vertical lift aircraft for urban, suburban and rural operations. These new innovations and technologies change the way that we move cargo and people, affecting industries across the economy. These changes will challenge today's airspace monitoring systems and regulatory environment. The U.S. government and its regulatory agencies need technical guidance to facilitate the development of these technologies, and to create the regulatory framework to foster the growth of this vertical flight industry to the benefit of the aviation industry.

Advancing Aerial Mobility evaluates the potential benefits and challenges associated with this emerging industry. This report provides recommendations that seek to foster an environment in which the nation can maintain its leading position in developing, deploying, and embracing these new technologies. This publication presents a national vision for advanced aerial mobility, market evolution, and safety and security management.


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