Why Urban Air Mobility is Imperative for Future Mobility

Every day, the number of on-road passenger vehicles across the globe is increasing at an unprecedented rate, which is causing traffic congestion. The increasing number of traffic on the roads has also increased the commuters’ time taken to travel by roads. Thus, as traffic congestion and urban mobility is posing a vital challenge, governments as well as tech companies now have started looking at Urban Air Mobility (UAM) as a viable alternative for passenger and cargo transport.

According to the INRIX Global Traffic Scorecard, in the United States congestion cost drivers more than US$87 billion in 2018, with an average cost of US$1,348 per driver. The other industry reports also reveal that the average resident in San Francisco spends 230 hours traveling between work and home. Conversely, in Los Angeles and Sydney, residents spend seven whole working weeks each year while commuting from one place to another. This congestion rate in other global megacities is much worse, as per the Lockheed Martin report, the average commute in Mumbai exceeds 90 minutes.

So, looking at these issues, Urban Aerial Mobility can be helpful here as it enables the movement of goods and people through the skies. It has long been a focus for smart city builders, decision makers, engineers, urban designers and policymakers. As, in one side, the UAM is a safe and efficient air transportation system, on the other side, it will save people’ valuable time. Also, the air-taxis used for the UAM are mostly electric powered or fuel-cell powered, helping in minimizing atmospheric pollution.

Adoption of Urban Air Mobility

To ease traffic congestion problem, most countries are now investing significantly and working towards the commercial adoption of the UAM concept. In this regard, Europe and North America are advancing faster than the other regions in the industry.

Many cities in Europe have been joining the Urban Air Mobility Initiative which is a part of the European Innovation Partnership on Smart Cities and Communities (EIP-SCC). The initiative intends to contribute to the creation of a market for UAM.

Meanwhile, Dubai is also set to drive the commercial air taxis market, and the country plans to roll out its aerial taxi services by 2022. In this way, companies like Volocopter and Ehang in collaboration with the UAE’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) have carried out advanced tests of UAM. Singapore is also set to fly taxis with the Volocopter, which is working closely with the government agencies to analyse the feasibility of releasing commercial air taxi services in the city-state.

Though, in this whole scenario, the United States has been the epicentre of UAM development as nearly 70 percent of market participants based in the country. Companies like Porsche, Airbus, Boeing, and Uber are some of the front runners in the air taxi market. These key players are pouring hefty capital in their unmanned air taxis models to advance its safety features alongside affordability.

Thus, the future of urban air mobility will certainly rely on advances in technology which are now taking place today. Also, there should be regulations where these vehicles must meet a certifiable safety threshold from regulators.