The results are in and Airbus claimed that, overall, 44.5% percent of people’s initial reaction to Urban Air Mobility initiatives is positive. The goal of this survey was to obtain an understanding of the public’s general opinion, concerns, and attitudes toward this new and growing segment of the aerospace market. To conduct this study, Airbus questioned residents in Mexico City, Los Angeles, Switzerland, and New Zealand – all cities that are forward-thinking in the realm of technological innovation, burdened by heavy traffic and congestion, or both.
Example of a scenario from the Airbus survey.
Mexico City had the highest claimed likelihood to use UAM at 67%. Not surprisingly, the groups with the longest average commute times were also determined to be most likely to use UAM.
Age and income were also influential factors in determining respondents’ views of UAM as well. The demographic with most positive reactions and acceptance toward air taxis were in the 24-35 age range, with 55% having a positive view of UAM, while the 74-85 age range had the least positive initial reaction. In Los Angeles, those with an annual income above $150,000 were the most supportive of the future use of UAM.
The highest priority concern of the surveyed communities was found to be safety, with 55.6% of responses including it as a concern. Second highest in the concerns was noise, and third was the altitude and frequency of fly-overs, likely driven by the noise byproduct as well.
Interestingly, the item of least concern to the survey population is the landing spot of the aircraft – this is arguably the top concern when evaluating the feasibility of UAM from an infrastructure perspective.
Why it’s important: By initiating this survey, Airbus has begun to test the potential market for UAM. The UAM technology itself has long been the lowest barrier to breaking open the urban aviation industry – instead, the industry depends on positive public sentiment and acceptance of the technology in one’s daily life. In other words, the technology could be present, yet if public utilization would be low due to safety, noise, or other concerns, it may not be feasible to develop the infrastructure. Airbus is raising questions crucial to understanding what it will take to integrate UAM as an accepted transportation method around the world, and, in doing so, is helping the industry as a whole.