The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is looking to develop the use of air mobility in urban areas following its research into how to safely integrate large drones into the national airspace.
NASA’s Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate (ARMD) has conducted research into strategic implementation of urban air mobility (UAM ) projects across the USA.
The space agency’s definition for UAM is a safe and efficient system for air passenger and cargo transportation within an urban area, inclusive of small package delivery and other urban UAS services. NASA has announced it is supporting the progression of ground-piloted vehicles, as well as on board pilot systems.
NASA, which has spent the past six years working on how to safely integrate UAS systems into the national airspace, has created effective partnerships with industry leaders, academic professionals and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to identify and seek solutions to accommodating remotely piloted aircraft.
“NASA has the knowledge and the expertise to help make urban air mobility happen,” said Jaiwon Shin, NASA’s associate administrator for aeronautics.
“We plan to conduct the research and development, and test the concepts and technologies that establish feasibility and help set the requirements. Those requirements then serve to make using autonomous vehicles, electric propulsion, and high density airspace operations in the urban environment safe, efficient and economically viable.”
In 2011, ARMD started its unmanned aircraft systems Integration in the National Airspace System project. This project was designed to reduce the technical barriers related to safety and the operational challenges associated with integrating larger-sized UAS, those that weigh 55 pounds or more and fly higher than 500 feet, including full-size repurposed Predators and Global Hawks.
Parimal Kopardekar, senior technologist for air transportation systems at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley, added: “Much of the work being done in these two projects will be directly applicable to the UAM research we anticipate we will be doing, and we will continue to deploy the same partnership approach from UTM that’s worked so well.”