Airbus has created the blueprint for Airbus Altiscope, and airspace management system that envisions the future of urban airspace.
Airbus Altiscope envisions that future airspace will include vehicles of all kinds ranging from delivery drones to air taxis. Primarily, it understands that much of airspace management will be automated, with humans only acting as oversight managers. In Airbus’s view, this change will be absolutely necessary given the prediction that air travel will increase tenfold by 2030.
While the full Airbus Altiscope blueprint is a 30 pages, the introduction video from Airbus gives a brief example of how airspace might work in the 2030s. According to Airbus, autonomous guidance systems will be able to re-arrange the multitude types of air traffic according to changing needs such sporting events. In this situation, media drones would be given certain from which to operate, air taxis would be rerouted to accommodate the event, and medical air vehicles would be given priority. The main point is that this system could successfully manage a great number of aircraft at once.
Also in the video, Airbus mentions that part of its current effort is running simulations in sync with decision modeling in order to evaluate and minimize risk. These simulations seek to take in all the considerations of future airspace, ranging from data-driven policy making to noise levels in suburban neighborhoods. The full video is shown below:
Why it’s important: With the Altiscope blueprint, Airbus is joining the effort of many other companies to build out future airspace. Both NASA and the FAA are working on conducting UAM testing, and Boeing has worked with AI firm Sparkcognition to found SkyGrid. AirMap, a company based in Santa Monica, has already begun using software to manage commercial and recreational drone flights. As the industry grows, it is becoming more apparent that software-based airspace management will be crucial to the urban air mobility market.