What is Advanced Air Mobility?
According to NASA, Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) is “a system of air transportation that transfers people and freight between places previously not serviced or underserved by aviation – local, regional, intraregional, and urban – employing revolutionary new aircraft that are only just now becoming feasible.” Being at the intersection of three emerging trends—electrification, distributed propulsion, and autonomy—it is aerospace’s newest market and, in recent years, the one that has spurred the bulk of innovation.
With all the buzz around UAM, it’s time to focus on how this vision might eventually come to fruition. The goal includes both new system technologies and aircraft designs. Some of the new aircraft designs are expected to have features like vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) capability for commuting in urban areas.
It may be conceivable for these operations to be used more frequently and in more places as a result of the development of electric VTOLs (eVTOLs) and distributed electric propulsion (DEP). Initial operations, according to industry experts, will be flown by a pilot in command (PIC) on the VTOL aircraft. The potential for totally autonomous sky transportation using remote PICs is seen in the future.
In a report recently released by ResearchAndMarkets.com titled “Urban Air Mobility Market Size, Share, Study By Component, By Operations By Range, And Segment Forecasts,” it is predicted that by 2028, the market for air metro will be viable and may even displace more traditional modes of public transportation like buses and subways.
According to the report, the market for urban air transportation is expanding most quickly in Europe. In addition, it is anticipated that the global market for urban air transportation will grow to $7.9 billion by 2030.
Airbus A3, AIRSPACEX, Carter Aviation, Passenger Drone, Lilium Aviation, Volocopter, Aurora Flight Sciences (A Boeing Company), Joby Aviation, Workhorse, Delorean Aerospace, XTI Aircraft, AviaNovations, and Embraer are just a few businesses that have created eVTOL prototypes.
Why it matters?
The future of UAM is touted to offer a solution to one of the largest issues facing the globe today- namely traffic and has many advantages over existing modes of transportation in the form of reduced infrastructure needs, comfortability, and trip time.
Air taxis are envisioned as a speedier, and perhaps more effective, alternative to land travel for intercity or intracity transit. They are mostly used for short-distance travel and are not intended to replace aeroplanes.
With urban air mobility, there are still issues to be solved, just like with any new technology or system. For instance, the public needs to be convinced of the safety of eVTOL technology. Compared to driving, air travel has a far lower accident rate, but there are also many more risks.
Especially considering that businesses want these cars to operate automatically and without a pilot. Before sufficient trust can be established between this technology and its user, it can take a lengthy time.
Air taxis, unlike cars, would not be able to transport passengers from point A to point B directly. It would be from one station to another instead. This implies that to produce an effective and seamless travel experience, integration across various modes of transportation would need to be put into practice. Otherwise, it might appear less practical to fly somewhere only to need to change vehicles to go where you’re going.
The AAM industry has about 700 participants, and more are joining every week. Additionally, venture finance, private equity, SPACs, automotive firms, long-standing aerospace OEMs, and tech firms have all made sizeable investments in OEMs.
However, there is a sizable degree of healthy scepticism present with the enthusiasm that greets every new business. How can businesses, suppliers, and investors quickly determine which companies will dominate the industry and which ones will not be as successful as they had planned given all the new arrivals and interest in the sector?
Is the AAM infrastructure suitable for the impending commercial service now that the first vehicles are only a few years away from certification?
Presenting the AAM Reality Index (ARI)
The ARI is a rating tool that is based on a formula that incorporates both expert knowledge and information that is available to the general public. It aids in determining how well newcomers to the market are doing in terms of delivering certified goods produced in large quantities.
As can be seen above;
- Corporate sponsors include AIRBUS, EAVIATION (TEXTRON), HONDA MOTOR COMPANY, PIPISTREL (TEXTRON), SUPERNAL, and VOLKSWAGEN
- KITTY HAWK is financed privately
- Estimated pre-acquisition financing data for ELECTRA, pre-Boeing 2022 investment funding data for WISK, and pre-SPAC funding data for EVE HOLDING
How is the ARI determined? How do you interpret the ratings?
The ARI is based on five factors:
- the company’s funding
- its management team
- the technology readiness of its vehicles
- the status of those vehicles’ certification
- the readiness of those vehicles for full-scale manufacturing
The methodology rates each applicant from 0 to 10 points.
As there is clustering at particular periods in the product lifecycle, a one decimal point to distinguish across entrants is deployed. An organisation that is only considering the market with little to no finance is represented as a 0 on the ARI tool.
A corporation with a commercial product produced in thousands of units annually is represented by a 10 on the ARI tool. No business could now create 10,000 vehicles annually since no one in the aerospace industry can do so.
Possible EIS (Entry Into Service) of various eVTOL companies
Early innovators, lesser-known companies, and aircraft OEMs make up the eVTOL sector (OEMs). Vehicles go between 20 and 250 n.m. at speeds between 70 and 250 mph. with rotor/pusher or tilt-rotor configurations. Because intracity UAM is a new company, prospective participants intend to be both operators and OEMs.
Many eVTOLs aims for EIS and aeroplane certification in 2024–2026. The method is drawn-out and difficult. The approval of protocols for pilot training, facilities, and maintenance are also necessary.
SOURCE(s): aamrealityindex | SMG consulting
COVER: Global Times