NASA advances development of urban air mobility ecosystem

National Air and Space Administration (NASA) has announced it has gathered representatives from industry, academia and government to engage in discussions about advancing the development of a the urban air mobility ecosystem, the company said.

NASA presented plans to host a series of grand challenges for the UAM community. The purpose of the Grand Challenge is to promote public confidence in UAM safety while capturing the public´s interest in a future many have imagined, or seen on television shows and movies, for decades.

Urban Air Mobility is defined as a safe and efficient system for passenger and cargo air transportation in and around an urban area. Several companies currently are working to develop vehicles and the infrastructure necessary to make UAM a reality.

For the first Grand Challenge, now set for late 2020, the idea will be to demonstrate safe operation of a piloted or remotely piloted aircraft capable of carrying at least one adult passenger within a simulated, challenging urban environment.

Participating organizations likely will involve many who attended the briefing in Seattle, including companies with an interest in building UAM vehicles; developing key onboard systems, such as electric propulsion, detect and avoid or command and control; or providing air traffic management for UAM aircraft operating over urban areas.