Photo By Volocopter, EHang, Airbus, Joby Aviation
In the realm of aviation, traditional airplanes often come to mind—swift, long-distance travellers following predetermined routes between airports. However, a groundbreaking shift is underway, ushering in a new era of aircraft designed to reach urban and remote locations previously inaccessible. These pioneering aircraft vary in size, spanning from compact cargo-carrying drones to passenger-friendly air taxis, primarily engaging in short-range missions. Leading the charge in this transformative endeavour is NASA, propelling the nation into a promising frontier known as Advanced Air Mobility, or AAM.
The vision of AAM is one of a future where air transportation is safe, accessible, automated, and cost-effective, serving as a lifeline to urban and rural locales that were once challenging to access. Recent market studies, commissioned by NASA, project a staggering increase in flight frequency by 2030. It’s estimated that there could be up to 500 million annual flights for package delivery services and an astounding 750 million flights annually for air metro services. AAM holds the key to effectively managing this burgeoning airspace.
In contrast to conventional airplanes and helicopters, the aircraft navigating this emergent airspace are notably smaller. This, coupled with their unique flight paths, renders continuous radar or satellite tracking and control impractical. Many of these aircraft fall into the category of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), signifying their autonomous or self-piloting capabilities.
As AAM progresses, it promises to revolutionize the way we conceive of air travel, making previously remote and underserved locations accessible while accommodating the evolving demands of a rapidly changing world.