Urban Air Mobility (UAM)
Urban Air Mobility (UAM) is the concept of mobility and transportation of people and goods. It centres around urban connectivity using innovative aerial vehicles, such as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), electric vertical take-off and landing vehicles (eVTOLs), short take-off and landing vehicles (STOLs) and autonomous aerial vehicles (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.
What does UAM Offer
Air transport systems have conventionally seen limited use in connecting people and cargo in urban regions. With new developments in cutting-edge technologies and advancements in aircraft designs, it has become possible to allow for alternative travel options for popular but crowded routes. Thus, UAM opens up new channels for delivery of goods and people-carrying services with the help of such innovative vehicles as UAVs, eVTOL’s and AAV’s.
AAM/UAM is seen as a synergy between the automotive industry and civil aviation. With the Implementation of UAM the industry aims for the seamless transition of urban transport into the third dimension. Allowing greater interconnectivity within urban areas, with free-flow of travel, in an emission-free manner.
Potential of UAM
As cities continue to expand, infrastructure becomes strained. With less ground space available to build new houses, offices and other commodities, road traffic becomes increasingly pressing, resulting in an uprise of exhaust emissions into the atmosphere.
A key piece of the puzzle required for solving current sustainability concerns regards urban development and growth. This is made possible with new technological developments in clean fuel combustion, new battery technology and hydrogen fuel cells.
The industry promises to help tackle this issue and contribute towards the sustainable development and growth of world cities, tackling climate and environmental issues arising from conventional systems.
Applications of UAM
Applications of UAM span civil and commercial use cases. Whether this means providing the public with a faster commute or using UAM vehicles for emergency services. People living in the outskirts of cities or in small towns often travel in for work or leisure; UAM operations can make this journey faster, smoother and more efficient.
According to Deloitte, by year 2035 the UAM/AAM market will generate $115billion USD as well as generating over 280,000 jobs further benefiting the economy and employment capacity.
UAM is not a replacement for existing transport infrastructure (e.g. railways, motorways) but offers an alternative to cater to individual transport needs. Mass UAM implementation has the potential to provide economic and environmental benefits, ease logistics and transport demands, and revolutionise airborne operations.
Source and suggested reading:
Factors affecting the adoption and use of urban air mobility. Transportation Research Part A Policy and Practice. 132. Pages 696-712. 10.1016/j.tra.2019.12.020. - Al Haddad, Christelle & Chaniotakis, Manos & Straubinger, Anna & Plötner, Kay & Antoniou, Constantinos. (2020).
Advanced Air Mobility - Deloitte