The increase of venture capital invested in air mobility has brought the UAM business out of public ignorance and futuristic movies, leading it to be one of the most promising industries in the short and medium-term, being in the permanent sights of large investors.
Estimates in terms of UAM
According to estimates in the sector and various market studies for urban air mobility, some media have stated that there are tentative dates in the middle of the decade for the take-off of air transport services and commercial air cabs.
Today, there are already many VTOL and eVTOL manufacturers, which according to these exact estimates, reach the number of 100 companies in the UAM technology and infrastructure sector and could consolidate a market of 1.5 billion dollars in just 20 years.
Considerable doubts remain about UAM, due to factors like the noise of the engines, the legal apparatus, and the cumbersome paperwork, in a world with very new laws on UAM or even reluctance to fly or fear of a possible discharge of the batteries in mid-flight.
Structure comes first
But despite everything and on the optimists’ side, the sector’s momentum is no longer the exclusive domain of those who manufacture aircraft and aerial vehicles. Still, the infrastructure involves various associated and support services from multiple commercial sectors to ensure efficiency and improve the system’s quality of service.
For this reason, infrastructure is a critical factor in the existence of a system, whether physical or virtual. There would be no possibility of a UAM network without a base infrastructure that would allow its maintenance in the long term as integrated modeling of urban air mobility.
The aforementioned implies a perfect symbiosis between infrastructure and technology, which must go hand in hand. Although they are allied elements, they do not escape their characteristics: technology is fast and grows by leaps and bounds, while infrastructure depends on factors such as venture capital, laws, and personnel capacity.
At present, any urban air mobility consultant would agree that differentiators within the UAM infrastructure could well serve as factors in defining the way forward for the coming years in the UAM business.
There is minimal experience in physical infrastructure linked to UAM, such as Skyports or Vertiports, which will serve as air terminals for passenger use in cities using VTOL and eVTOL vehicles.
Each vertiport would act as a point or node within the structural system and implies exponential growth in the utility of the infrastructure since the greater the number of nodes, the greater the functionality and utility of the entire network. The number of available routes will also increase with the growth of nodes.
Planning and certifications
Planning and certifications are essential to create a system of design, testing, and evaluation of UAM infrastructure based on transparent and fair legal regulations for all users. In this order, those laws should also concede fundamental aspects in a business model, such as scalability and cost reduction.
Currently, many VTOL and eVTOL manufacturers are becoming certified and, for the most part, are completing their goal of operating their vehicles within two to three years. They prioritize the planning and consolidation of the air and ground structure, including river or lake, in some cases.
Local and regional governments are called upon to plan actions that will allow the release of market value and initiate the construction of UAM infrastructure. There should be a close link between any UAM consulting agency and mayors and governors to enable VTOL and eVTOL operations without collateral effects.
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