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The Urban Air Traffic Management Concept

Urban ATM is the collection of systems and services to support the integration of all operations in the urban airspace environment, including Regulations, Organizations, Airspace Structures and Procedures, Technologies, and the Environment. The term “urban” is used to signify the area where new advanced high-integrity ATM services are likely to be required to support the integration of electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft and drones.

Given the need for eVTOLs to be integrated with other aircraft from initial operations, Eve believes that the introduction and evolution of this new type of aircraft will be the catalyst for a new approach to managing traffic in urban environments.

Urban ATM will support the integrated operation of initially piloted Urban Air Mobility (UAM) aircraft and other airspace users in low-level airspace, enabling the optimized performance and safety of UAM operations and providing a roadmap toward the integration of autonomous aircraft.

Optimizing the performance of operations is not limited to just separation services but will include consideration of all ICAO Key Performance Areas (Safety, Security, Environment, Cost Effectiveness, Capacity, Flight Efficiency, Flexibility, Predictability, Access & Equity, Participation & Collaboration and Global Interoperability).

Initial Urban ATM services may focus more on performance areas such as flight efficiency, flexibility, predictability, and participation and collaboration. Safety will be achieved through traditional ATM arrangements and pilots conducting operations under Visual Flight Rules (VFR).

Urban ATM services that enable the integration of all airspace users will differ from those required for UAS Traffic Management (UTM) in terms of functionality and level of integrity. They will support piloted, remotely piloted, and autonomous aircraft operations. Given their proximity, Urban ATM services will need to integrate with both traditional ATM and UTM services. It is expected that UTM services will continue to be utilized for segregated uncrewed aircraft systems operations (for example, in areas below 500 ft).

Eve sees the evolution of UAM operations occurring over several horizons, where different features for operations will take place.

Horizon 1 – UAM Launch

  • Expected deployment timeline: 2025
  • Initial piloted UAM aircraft operations using conventional ATM Procedures & Technology
  • Implementation of existing ATM concepts (e.g. VFR routes)
  • New vertiport and fleet operations planning, information sharing, flow management, and situational awareness Urban ATM solutions (provided by ANSPs or other parties)

Horizon 2 – UAM Scale

  • Expected deployment timeline: late 2020s
  • UAM aircraft operations where current ATM procedures and technologies are insufficient to support the demand for operations.
  • New ATM solutions will be needed to enable the UAM industry to scale

Horizon 3 – Integration of uncrewed passenger carrying aircraft

  • Expected deployment timeline: early to mid-2030s
  • A mix of piloted, remotely piloted and autonomous UAM aircraft operations with other airspace users
  • Integration of UTM and Urban ATM concepts

Tomorrow, we will introduce Eve’s work to develop technology solutions to support initial eVTOL operations.

For more information, visit us at the Atech stand F22 

About the author: Rob Weaver is the Urban ATM Global Business Development Lead for Eve Air Mobility, the Embraer backed start-up dedicated to accelerating the global UAM ecosystem. He also leads Entry Into Service planning for Eve’s eVTOL aircraft in Australia.

Rob has worked with Embraer-X and Eve on new ATM concepts to support UAM since 2018. Previously he was Executive General Manager Safety, Environment & Assurance at Airservices Australia, where he was a member of the Executive for six years. He has also worked for the UK’s Air Navigation Service Provider and holds a PhD in safety critical systems from the University of York.