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Urban Air Mobility Glossary

Our UAM Glossary is a collaborative effort from many industry experts.

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Term contributed by Felipe Varon,                

Varon Vehicles Corporation

Urban Geodesic

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.

Origination of the term ‘Urban Geodesic’

 

Felipe Varon from the company Varon Vehicles Corporation formulated the term Urban Geodesic a few years ago, since then the term has matured and been employed by the team and partners as well as Civil Aviation Authorities.   

The terminology was created due to the need to define paths to link vertiports considering the various characteristics of the airspace and its surrounding environment.

 

The terminology describes the shortest connecting imaginary line between two vertiports in an urban environment that would need to negotiate visible obstacles in the theatre of operations such as tall buildings and electric towers to name a few. This also incorporates topographical obstacles of terrain, such as mountains. Most importantly invisible obstacles such as no-fly zones (e.g. airports, critical infrastructure, restricted airspaces) which exist.

The concept of Urban Geodesic is continuously used to determine the best path that should be followed to link vertiports through the low altitude skies of cities and suburbs.  These are determined through an amalgamation of information from topographical, city and aeronautical maps.

Purpose of Urban Geodesic

Urban Geodesics are used to lay out the airspace volumes linking vertiports. It also allows defining segregated airspace blocks between vertiports which separate Urban Air Mobility air vehicles from all other aircraft and drones. Virtual lanes and other airspace integration architecture structures are defined within these airspace volumes for the organized flow of the air vehicles.

Urban Geodesics are a design concept that allows for safe and efficient integration of UAM into airspace over cities and suburbs. They set the framework for the establishment of air routes and the identification of safe landing locations in case of emergencies. 

Airspace volumes linking vertiports defined using an urban geodesic can be used to trace fixed and predetermined virtual lanes in which air vehicles are expected to maintain themselves. In this type of operation, aircraft do not need to communicate with the Air Traffic Control, generating no burden on existing aeronautical systems and allowing massification of Urban Air Mobility.

Source and suggested reading :

  1. Our UAM Concept - Varon Vehicles Corporation