EmbraerX, Embraer’s own innovation division, recently publicly released Flight Plan 2030, a 48-page document calling for the creation and implementation of an “urban air traffic management” (UATM) system. The report presents a preliminary concept of the “design and management of low-altitude urban airspace that will allow UAM to evolve over the next decade.”
Flight Plan 2030 envisions a single urban air traffic control that would manage urban airspace for not just eVTOLs, but any aircraft, manned or unmanned, in urban airspace. Drawing upon existing air traffic control technology, provided by Atech and Harris Corporation, Flight Plan 2030 ideally would create a unified urban air traffic control system that can meet the demands of next generation air transportation.
These UATM systems would span across each city, and rely on advanced information networks and possibly even artificial intelligence, all in order to define safe air routes and corridors for air taxis to take. The air taxis would run between Skyports, or landing zones, and would run similarly to how airplanes work with airports today. During cruise flight, all flights would be managed by a single “urban airspace service provider” (UASP), that would have the authority to adjust flight plans and track each individual flight to prevent collisions.
Flight Plan 2030 also provides some insight as to how the urban air mobility industry would interact and collaborate with pre-existing dedicated air traffic control systems, such as conventional Air Traffic Control (ATC) agencies and Unmanned Traffic Management (UTM) systems for drones. Predicting an increased volume of air traffic in the next few decades, Flight Plan 2030 indicates that Embraer, among other aerospace companies, have already begun preparing to find solutions on how to develop a safe and efficient air traffic control system.
Why it’s important: While many aircraft makers are in the various stages of eVTOL aircraft development, EmbraerX has begun addressing a key issue in the infrastructural and technological challenges that the UAM industry faces. For air taxi services to become widespread, there must first be a reliable and efficient urban air traffic control system ready to integrate those services. Flight Plan 2030 represents a strong first step into taking a serious look at how the UAM industry would fit and interact with pre-existing air traffic, and what kind of requirements a new system would need to function properly.
Sources // EmbraerX White Paper: Flight Plan 2030