Overview Course – Deploying Urban Air Mobility in European Cities

Urban Air Mobility (UAM) services will be more and more deployed in the near future. The ASSURED-UAM (Acceptance, Safety and Sustainability Recommendations for Efficient Deployment of UAM) is a European research projects funded under H2020 Programme (Grant Agreement number: 101006696), aiming to build a knowledge framework to guarantee outstanding robustness in terms of safety, sustainability, and acceptability of UAM. This course is part of ASSURED-UAM's guides and learning tools and consists of 8 video lessons summarising the knowledge acquired during the ASSURED-UAM Project. It depicts most probable scenarios for UAM integration in European cities, discusses current status and evolutionary trends of aviation best practices, standards, recommendations and organizational solutions to pursue economic, social and environmental sustainability of UAM. UAM practitioners and authorities, policymakers and industry organizations without aviation background will get an overview of the key issues for UAM integration in European cities to foster the implementation of vertical transport with the horizontal urban space and peri-urban mobility systems.

Lesson 1: Foresight Scenarios for UAM in Future Integrated Urban Mobility System

In this first lesson of the overview course from the EU ASSURED-UAM project, foresight scenarios for UAM in future integrated urban mobility systems will be considered. Preliminarily to the description of the UAM foresight scenarios, the first part of the lesson will outline the project’s defined Concept of Operations and the most relevant six Use Cases (UAM operational models) for the integration of Urban Air Mobility into urban and peri-urban mobility system. This integration will be considered over three time horizons, in 5, 10, and 15 years, defining scenarios 2025, 2030, and 2035. Use Cases will describe the most relevant operations which are expected to be possible in the given time horizons. The definition of foresight scenarios will be then provided in the lesson. First, UAM needs to be integrated into the urban framework, especially in urban surface transport. To this aim, a series of actions will be necessary to adapt the cities and allow them to accommodate this new mode of transportation, also facing operational barriers to the deployment of the UAM, such as infrastructural, technological, and social acceptance limitations. The second part of the lesson will outline the foresight scenarios for UAM implementation in future cities over the three considered time horizons, considering the expected challenges and their possible solutions.

Lesson 2: UAM Integration in Cities

In this second lesson of the overview course from the EU ASSURED-UAM project, we will approach the topic of the integration of urban air mobility in cities. Lessons learned on urban air mobility (UAM) integration in cities include the importance of collaboration among stakeholders, the need for infrastructure development and clear regulations, the necessity of public acceptance, integration with existing transportation networks, consideration of environmental impacts, and the rapidly evolving technology advancements shaping the UAM landscape. The second layer of the lesson focuses on the deployment strategy based on integrating UAM in cities. EU investment in public charging, zero emissions vehicles and self-sufficient EV batteries set an electric direction for UAM vehicles. The deployment strategy includes vertiports in 2025, an AI system for flight supervision in 2030 and an upgrade by 2035. The focus is on drone cargo, with passenger transport planned for 2035.

Lesson 3: Regulatory Framework for UAM Deployment

Regulatory framework for UAM deployment In this third lesson of the overview course from the EU ASSURED-UAM project, the regulatory framework for UAM deployment will be discussed. The first part of the lesson will outline the present and future regulations or standards concerning manned and unmanned freight and passenger transport in overpopulated urban areas. These regulations are divided into several topics to analyse them further. A part of that analysis is the synthesis of the target level of safety. This is done to propose a target level of safety for UAM operations with the inclusion of third-party risk considerations. Encountered aspects considered to be missing are reflected in the regulatory review. The second layer of the lesson focuses on identifying the strongest factors and trends with the help of this regulatory basis. The important factors are retrieved by looking at the impact of the regulations on UAM. They are then analysed by looking at key points where bottlenecks may arise. The impact of the regulations on UAM is divided into three perspectives: the industry (vehicle) perspective, the operations perspective, and the cities perspective. Finally, the trends are described in terms of the implementation of UAM in our current society considering the current regulations and standards reviewed in the earlier steps.

Lesson 4: Life Cycle Cost & Energy Effectiveness Analysis for UAM Deployment

The recent development of unmanned aerial systems worldwide has fuelled extensive efforts to develop a legal framework to introduce Urban Air Mobility - a new type of transportation in urban areas. UAM is the highly automated transport of objects and people via small aircraft at lower altitudes in urban and suburban areas. the actual costs of UAM services, their energy efficiency and environmental impact are still a great unknown. As part of the ASSURED-UAM project, we analysed six UAM use cases involving both freight and passenger transportation. We conducted the analysis over three-time horizons: 2025, 2030 and 2035, in terms of their total cost, energy efficiency and carbon footprint. The results provide detailed information on unit costs expressed in EUR/km or EUR/pkm, as well as total costs in EUR for freight and passenger UAS.

Lesson 5: Recommendation and Standards Definition for UAM and Urban Transport Integration

The development of unmanned aerial vehicles affects the development and creation of new legal regulations and laws, allowing for the implementation of UAM in cities. UAM is a new means of transport that focuses on better linking people to cities and regions, giving them more possibilities to connect. The implementation of urban air mobility is associated with new regulations, including in transport, infrastructure, and the environment. The first one starts with the revision of key documents and literature on recent and current documents' regulatory approach, reflecting the wide scope of UAM components, including infrastructure UAM, integration and environmental aspects, based on main global regulatory organisations and numerous advisory groups. The second step identifies the impact of regulations on UAM and defines recommendations based on regulations gaps analysis and current regulatory approach.

Lesson 6: Social Sustainability of UAM

The integration of UAM services in the overall urban transport chain must incorporate a system of indicators aiming at monitoring and evaluating the overall sustainability of the integration process. Therefore, ASSURED-UAM project has evaluated UAM services sustainability giving the same relevance to the environmental, economic, and social perspectives. In this 6th lesson, the Social Sustainability of Urban Air Mobility deployment will be explained, highlighting the differences from the social acceptance. Moreover, how the ASSURED-UAM project addressed this sustainable pillar in UAM is explained, comprising the issues and opportunities captured and how to manage each one of them.

Lesson 7: Policy and Urban Planning Standards and Recommendations

UAM applications can revolutionise the landscape of future urban and extra-urban environments, bringing mobility to the third dimension. However, this will be possible only with radical technological innovation in many areas of city governance and services and with a complete change in how cities develop their mobility plans, integrating ground and air transportation in complete safety. For the definition of policy and planning recommendations, the ASSURED-UAM project has conducted a first identification of the key actors, followed by the specification of their area of decision-making, level of responsibility and type of regulation. Then, recommendations for Urban Planning and Urban Transport planning have been defined, together with policy recommendations in the fields of Urban and transport planning, Aviation and ATM, Energy infrastructures, financing and procuring, and Environment. In the design of the recommendations, special attention was given to Integration and coordination between the different geographical dimensions and institutions involved. As a result, ASSURED-UAM policy and planning recommendations are based on a strategy of fully integrating UAM in Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans with ground transport services, energy infrastructures and urban and territorial planning.

Lesson 8: Preparatory Activities in Three European Urban Areas to Test UAM Deployment within Next Year

In this eighth lesson of the overview course from the EU ASSURED-UAM project, we will approach the topic of integration of activities in urban areas to test UAM deployment within next years. European cities have been at the forefront of promoting sustainable urban mobility, and the experiences carried out along the ASSURED-UAM project can provide valuable insights into the deployment of UAM. We will show that increasing knowledge among stakeholders and co-creation are key components of successful UAM implementation. In favour of the best integration with existing transportation networks, ASSURED-UAM involved stakeholders in designing and testing UAM solutions, according to the needs and with the support of local communities. The project has also highlighted the importance of collaboration among stakeholders, including local authorities, transport providers and UAM operators. By gaining access to research, technical expertise and best practices, stakeholders were supported in making informed decisions, a resource essential to ensuring safe, efficient, and sustainable UAM implementation. These experiences provide a blueprint for cities around the world to follow in the deployment of UAM.