LA and the World Economic Forum present blueprint for global UAM adoption

Drone view of downtown Los Angeles or LA skyline with skyscrapers and freeway traffic below.

Clean, safe and inclusive urban air mobility closer to becoming a reality with new partnership

The City of Los Angeles and the World Economic Forum have released a pioneering report that presents a roadmap for Urban Air Mobility (UAM). Principles of the Urban Sky advocates a principles-based policy-making framework for the rollout of UAM that protects the public interest to benefit the many rather than just the few.

UAM is an emerging mode of next generation aviation technology that is better suited for urban transport. With vertical takeoff and landing configurations, improvements in energy sources, and improved connectivity, it looks towards piloted or autonomous flights of people and the movement of goods in city centres, suburban and edge of town conurbations.

The report identifies seven principles critical for a scalable UAM policy framework. These include safety, sustainability, equity of access for disadvantaged communities, low-noise, multi-modal connectivity for seamless travel, local workforce development for new air and ground level jobs, and purpose-driven data sharing to respond to the needs of the market.

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Seoul aims to commercialize urban air mobility in 2025

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Hyundai Motor Group via The Korea Herald/Asia News Network

SEOUL — South Korea aims to commercialize urban air mobility (UAM) services in the domestic market in 2025 as it strives to tackle worsening traffic congestion in major cities, the transport ministry said Thursday.

The government plans to begin offering UAM services initially with one to two routes, or terminals, in the Seoul metropolitan area in 2025 and then to increase the number of terminals to 10 by 2030, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport said in a statement.

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How close is urban air mobility to becoming a reality?

 

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eVTOL vehicle

So far, Uber is sticking publicly to its stated goal of beginning limited aerial ridesharing service in its pilot cities by 2023. And at least one of its vehicle partners, Joby Aviation, remains committed to certifying and operating its electric vertical-takeoff-and-landing (eVTOL) air taxi by 2023.

The U.S. Air Force’s Agility Prime program, which is intended to help accelerate the certification of commercial eVTOL vehicles by providing access to testing resources and a government early-adopter market, is likewise targeting the fielding of a “small handful” of vehicles in 2023.

Uber planned to conduct flight tests on an experimental vehicle over a U.S. city later in 2020 but has not provided an update on whether the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted these plans. These flights, of a piloted vehicle without passengers, are intended to demonstrate the low noise of eVTOL vehicles, which is critical to achieving the public acceptance needed to begin commercial service.

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