Drones, personal flying vehicles, and air taxis may be part of our everyday life in the very near future. This means new mobility and transport routes, but also new services like surveillance, delivery, transportation, etc. Some of these new aerial vehicles will require landing pads, charging points, and drone ports. The digital transformation expands skyward and already today the changes in drone technology hold enormous promise for the future use of airspace and aviation at large.
In short, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs, drones, air taxis) will be part of our future. This requires a change in the way airspace is managed. We need to develop new environment and framework conditions – a U-space where we integrate UTM and ATM for their safe co-existence.
Both ATM and U-space communities depend extensively on the provision of timely, relevant, accurate, and quality-assured digital information to collaborate and make informed decisions. We need the understanding how the integration of UTM and other commercial drone operations into ATM airspace can be implemented without degrading safety, security, or disrupting current airspace operations.
This requires an impressive amount of digitalisation, systems need to be rebuilt, tested, and validated. Like in many other industries it is closely connected to adapting new technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI).
On 24 and 25 March the very first virtual summit “AI + Industry Virtual Aviation Summit” took place. The summit was opened by a panel discussion on the topic of “Use of Artificial Intelligence in Urban Air Mobility”. The panel was moderated by Munish Khurana (Senior Manager – ATM/UTM Business Development, EUROCONTROL). In the panel, GOF 2.0 consortium representatives Günter Graf (VP New Business Development, Frequentis), Jonas Stjernberg (SVP, Robots Expert), Andreas Perotti (CMO, Ehang Europe), and Ivar Värk (CEO, EANS) focused in their discussions on the application, relevance, and significance of AI & highly automated systems within the aviation industry and in context of GOF 2.0 project.
The panel members represented a well-balanced share of experience from various parts of the Urban Air Mobility ecosystem comprising of OEMs, UTM & U-space service provider, ecosystem integrator, aviation authority, and a seasoned moderator. During the one-hour discussion the panelists discussed and described the main objectives of the future U-space and how it can use the AI in its design and development processes:
According to the panelists it will require a great amount of trust for switching from the human-in-the-loop perspective to systems and the trust will come with the knowledge that the systems work.