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.  

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.

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.  

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. 

(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. 

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.

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)

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.

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.

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. 

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.

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.  

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.

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.

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.