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Advancing Aerial Mobility: A National Blueprint (2020)

Chapter: Appendix A: Statement of Task

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


Statement of Task

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine will convene an ad hoc committee to assess the feasibility of a safe and efficient urban air mobility (UAM) system. In terms of general definition and concept of operations, the committee will consider UAM to be a system for air passenger and cargo transportation within a metropolitan area (including operations over densely populated urban areas), with vehicles ranging from small drones to passenger aircraft with electrically powered vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) capabilities. For both manned and unmanned aircraft, the study will focus on a system vision (including interface/integration into broader air transportation systems, ground transportation systems, and smart city systems generally), barriers, entrepreneurial approaches, and research projects that are particular to operation in uncontrolled airspace over metropolitan areas. In particular, the committee will:

  1. Consider
    • Essential characteristics of a UAM system.
    • Key barriers to developing and deploying a UAM system that demonstrates the essential characteristics.
    • Risk-based approaches to addressing key barriers, so that evolutionary market development can occur, from market emergence with limited operations, through growth and expansion as safety cases and community acceptance allows, and last to mature operations in urban areas.
    • Progress in related areas, such as the development and implementation of standards and operational capabilities to enable UAM operations, the UAM Traffic Management system, cybersecurity, and urban planning.
    • Highly entrepreneurial approaches, including nonaviation industry entrants, that are relevant to UAM market development.
  2. Prepare a report that will:
    • Develop and discuss a recommended national vision for UAM.
    • Identify and prioritize by group the key technical, economic, regulatory, and policy barriers to achieve the vision.
    • Assess the potential impact of highly entrepreneurial approaches, including those that could be implemented by nonaviation industry entrants, in achieving the vision.
    • Recommend key research projects that NASA, other government agencies, industry, and academia could employ to overcome the barriers and facilitate likely approaches to achieving the vision.
    • Assess the potential and benefit for a public-private partnership in addressing the technical, economic, regulatory, policy, and other related (e.g., urban planning) requirements.
Suggested Citation:"Appendix A: Statement of Task." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Advancing Aerial Mobility: A National Blueprint. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25646.
Page 63
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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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