UAM GLOSSARY

Our UAM Glossary is a collaborative effort from many industry experts. We will be updating it regularly, so check back later to see what’s new!

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Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) is an umbrella term which defines a future concept of mobility and transportation of people and goods. AAM incorporates use cases of urban, suburban and rural transportation using innovative Aerial Vehicles, such as UAVs, eVTOLs amongst others. The term AAM is often used interchangeably with Urban Air Mobility (UAM); however, AAM is inclusive of the rural counterparts whereas the latter mainly focuses on urban connectivity.  

a rendetring of UAM in Downtown Atlanta

Autonomous Aerial Vehicles (AAVs) are those that refer to the airborne vehicles that are not remotely controlled or human piloted, neither incorporate human monitored systems. Their activities are conducted without any human interference.
 

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Air pollution defines the presence of harmful substances within the Earth’s atmosphere. The substances are often pollutants emitted by day-to-day human activities or natural processes. Air pollution impacts all living organisms and the environment, from health effects to climate change.

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Often UAM/AAM vehicles are referred to as air taxis, however not all aerial vehicles are air taxis. Air Taxis aim to offer an on-demand transport service from passenger pickup points to their destination, transporting passengers with an onboard pilot. UAM/AAM ecosystem aims to utilise the Air Taxi concept for intermodal mobility over shorter distances, primarily  in urban areas.  

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Automation describes a process or a system that reduces the need for human involvement in the product's life cycle. Automation instils the ability for a system to perform repetitive functions, without the need to be concerned with its surroundings. 

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(Technological) Autonomy is the ability to make decisions or perform actions that are not influenced by external factors. Autonomous systems can therefore operate independently of the human operator and be self-governing. 

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A battery is an electrochemical device that is used to power electrical devices, from simple household appliances to mobile phones, cars and aircraft. VoloCity by Volocopter, EHang 216 and Lilium Jet are examples of electric vertical take-off and landing vehicles (eVTOLs) developed for Urban Air Mobility (UAM) where the propulsive power is delivered via batteries.

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Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) denotes the ability to conduct unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) operations without the need for pilots to maintain constant visual proximity to the UAVs at all times. The current BVLOS Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS)  operations are being trialled within controlled segregated environments such as construction, infrastructure, oil and gas industries, to mitigate risks associated with not flying under visual flight rules (VFR)

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Drones are a subset of UAVs. Their attributes are context-dependent and may refer to a range of vehicles from the consumer electronics market (essentially remote-controlled toys) to larger unmanned aircraft such as ones used for surveillance and remote weapons deployment by the military.  Developments are underway in which we can see fully autonomous drone operations taking place, as well as operations beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) amongst others.

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European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) is an Agency of the European Union which is responsible for aviation safety of its member states.  Collectively, they are responsible for all aspects of civil aviation within member states.

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Electric short Take-off and landing aircraft (eSTOL) refer to the category of STOL aircraft that utilise battery technology, attaining propulsive power from electricity. eSTOL aircraft are able to take off and land on shorter than average runways.

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Electric Vertical Take-off and Landing (eVTOL) Vehicles refer to types of aircraft that can take off, hover and land vertically. Contrary to more traditional aircraft, their propulsive power is generated through batteries. Advanced/Urban Air Mobility aims to encompass the use of eVTOLs for its varied operational usage as passenger and cargo transport between urban, rural and suburban areas. 

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The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is the governing body and regulator for civil aviation within the United States (US) and its international waters. The rights to international waters are delegated by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). The FAA is responsible for all aspects of civil aviation within these boundaries, which includes the operations of unmanned aerial systems (UAS).

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Industrialisation saw the shift of an agrarian society (agricultural society) to an industrial society, which triggered a transformation in social and economical values. Industrialisation can refer to the advancements from existing industries to a new revolution of industries, for example the evolution from an agrarian to an industrial society, followed by the development of digitalisation, science and mass production, as well as travel and tourism accelerated by aviation.

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Mobility defines the ability to move and process of movement, as opposed to transportation, which defines the means of mobility. The large variety of transportation solutions and the available connective infrastructure enables individuals to move with minimal constraint.

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MaaS can be identified as a digital interface which manages and displays a range of transport-related services giving users access to a variety of functions. It allows customers to make payments and get real-time information on a range of private and public transport options. This service leverages modern reliance on mobile phones to assist day-to-day choices, from where to dine to what is the best route for travel.

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On-demand mobility (ODM) refers to an individual's ability in real-time to access a range of transportation modes that can be both public or private. ODM includes various shared personal mobility services that supply the demand for travel using live data, often obtained through mobile applications. 

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Short take-off and landing (STOL) is a category of fixed-wing aircraft that are able to take off and land utilising a shorter than average runway. There are many civil, commercial and military applications for STOL aircraft. They have been around since the early 1900s, providing mobility and connectivity across various underdeveloped regions, where road transport infrastructure was not adequate, or simply did not exist.  

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Sustainability refers to the concept in which actions and tasks do not negatively impact the existing environment or standards of operation. In modern context, sustainability is associated with the actions of individuals that allow for the earth's environment and human life to co-exist.

 

Sustainability has three underlying forms: social, economic and environmental, which follow an interdependent hierarchy.

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Transportation refers to the method of movement of people, animals or goods from one place to another. In essence, transport is the means to move objects between locations.

 

The latest advancements in technology and new vehicle designs have introduced new modes of transport, which are set to not only be economically viable but also environmentally friendly.  

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UAM is the concept of mobility and transportation of people and goods. It centres around urban connectivity using innovative Aerial Vehicles, such as UAVs, eVTOLs, STOLs and AAVs.

 

The term UAM is often used interchangeably with Advanced Air Mobility (AAM), however UAM focuses mainly on urban connectivity, whereas the latter encompasses all regions.

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An Unmanned Aerial Vehicle is any flying machine operated without a human pilot on board. UAVs are the key component of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). These UAVs may be recoverable or expendable, and can also carry a range of military and civilian payloads.

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Urban Geodesic refers to the shortest path between two vertiports through the low altitude (i.e. vertical height from ground level) airspace.

 

It takes into consideration no-fly zones, existing air routes, critical infrastructure, city obstacles, known wind conditions and topography

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Urbanisation describes the process of community shift from rural to urban areas.  On a broader scale, urbanisation refers to the processes adopted by individuals as a result of the growth of towns and cities because of the shift.  It is often used to measure stages of development in cities

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Vertical Take-off and Landing (VTOL) Vehicles refer to the likes of aircraft that can take off, hover and land vertically such as most helicopters, some military aircraft, drones and, more recently, AAM/UAM vehicles. VTOLs in comparison to conventional aircraft require no airstrip and less ground space to land, with most of them potentially able to land on open spaces, rooftops and grasslands. This provides many benefits for fast transport of goods and people, especially convenient in dense urban environments.

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