At the Tech for Good Summit in Paris, Guillaume Faury, CEO of Airbus, and Catherine Guillouard, CEO of RATP Group, signed a memorandum of understanding to launch a joint study on the viability of incorporating Urban Air Mobility into our daily lives.

The CityBus, just one of Airbus’ designs for creating a vehicle for UAM

The study will examine the feasibility of UAM through the lens of Mobility-as-a-Service, or MaaS, which is the movement of trending towards transportation as a service, like Uber or Lyft, rather than using personal modes of transportation. In other words, both Airbus and RATP Group will specifically examine the development of UAM as a service, looking at controlled costs and accessibility factors for integrating UAM into our infrastructural ecosystem.

“Beyond mass transport, which remains our core business, it is important for RATP Group to promote its human and technical know-how to develop new forms of mobility and new services to support the smart cities of tomorrow. We are delighted to be working on this with Airbus, the world leader in the aerospace industry, which will provide its unique expertise in the aviation sector”, says Catherine Guillouard, CEO of RATP group.

Both Airbus and RATP Group have vested interests in making UAM a reality. Airbus is currently in the middle of developing several different types of eVTOL aircraft, many for the purpose of servicing urban air transport. The RATP Group is currently in charge of most of the public transport in Paris, as well as the rest of the Île-de-France region. The Paris Métro, as well as various tram and bus services, and part of the Réseau Express Régional (RER) network are all under the operation of the RATP Group. In the Île-de-France region alone, RATP is responsible for about 3 billion passengers per year.

“Autonomous flights or flying vehicles are no longer the reserves of science-fiction. We are developing technology demonstrators to allow populations to connect faster. We already have the technical blocks but we have to align them and integrate them into the user’s everyday life without compromising the safety, which is our priority. RATP is one of the major players in urban mobility. Its knowledge regarding passengers, their needs and related services, make them the ideal partner for Airbus”, says Guillaume Faury, CEO of Airbus.

Why it’s important: The joint study by Airbus and RATP Group will be extremely beneficial for gaining an understanding of how the future of UAM will proceed. The financial and physical viability of the endeavor of integrating UAM into a city or region’s intrastructure is still for the most part unexplored, as many companies have still yet to finish development of their aircraft before taking the next step. A study with insight from both a public transportation operator and an aircraft manufacturer will provide useful information for how to proceed in making UAM an affordable widespread reality.

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Posted by Naish Gaubatz

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