Advanced air mobility

Collision avoidance for air taxis

By Keith Button

February 1, 2024

If the visions of a slew of entrepreneurs come to pass, the skies around planned vertiports will swarm with electric air taxis coming and going with passengers. How will calamity be averted? Keith Button looked at one possible solution.

Democratizing flight

By Aaron Karp

February 1, 2024

Will we ever own aircraft the way we own automobiles? Market forecasts, a proposed rule from FAA and recent test flights suggest that personal air vehicles could be coming. Aaron Karp tells the story.

Pilot on board

By Paul Brinkmann

January 1, 2024

In its initial flight test campaign, Electra established a distinctive course for itself in the emerging field of advanced air mobility through its lift-enhancing design and avoidance of remote piloting. Paul Brinkmann tells the story.

What’s next? A personal air vehicle revolution

October 1, 2023

Those electric air taxis we hear so much about could turn out to be a stepping stone to a transportation revolution that will change where and how we live and maybe help clean up the planet. Futurist Dennis M. Bushnell explains.

Market master

By Paul Brinkmann

June 1, 2023

Robin Riedel, partner at McKinsey and Co.

Certification conundrum

By Aaron Karp

May 1, 2023

Flying autonomously will be critical for drone operators who want to carry cargo to a variety of destinations. FAA has not determined how it would authorize such flights, throwing business plans into question. Aaron Karp spoke to manufacturers and industry groups about strategies for speeding up the FAA process and starting initial operations while those deliberations proceed.

Baking in cybersecurity for air taxis

November 1, 2022

By now, it should be obvious that no sector of society is immune to cyberattacks. And yet, the legions of companies that are planning the electric air taxi revolution spend far more time showing off their cabin designs and flight ranges than bragging about their cybersecurity plans. Architects of these aircraft and the traffic management system must plan now for cybersecurity, say three authors from the Institute for Public Research, part of the nonprofit CNA Corporation based in Virginia.

The unexpected reasons to invest in advanced air mobility

October 1, 2022

Once dominated by startups, the emerging air taxi industry has attracted the attention of traditional aerospace companies that have invested millions of dollars. Some have also begun working on their own concepts for these small, electric passenger aircraft. Even if AAM never achieves the billion- or trillion-dollar annual valuations predicted by analysts, Glenn McDonald and Martha Neubauer of the AeroDynamic Advisory consulting firm believe the Airbuses and Boeings will still reap the benefits.

Airspace innovator

By Paul Brinkmann

June 1, 2022

Parimal Kopardekar, director of NASA Aeronautics Research Institute

Flying over traffic jams

By Aaron Karp

June 1, 2022

Korean Air is part of an effort to develop air taxi infrastructure to ease traffic in congested Seoul starting in 2025. Aaron Karp spoke to executives about the work ahead.

Seeking certification

By Aaron Karp

May 1, 2022

Joby Aviation is working with FAA to get its electric aircraft design certified in 2023 so that the company can begin ferrying passengers around major U.S. cities in 2024. Can the advanced air mobility company cross the finish line? Aaron Karp set out to find the answer.

Gambling on advanced air mobility

By Aaron Karp

April 1, 2022

Funds and pledges of funding have been pouring in from large corporations to a handful of small companies that are pioneering a proposed new mode of transportation for average people. Does the investment trend guarantee that this class of electric-powered rotorcraft will soon take off with us aboard? Aaron Karp spoke to the industry executives who should know.

Engage the (almost) silent drive

By Paul Marks

February 1, 2022

First-generation electric delivery drones and passenger air taxis could be too noisy for many communities, so researchers are attempting to engineer electric thrusters of unprecedented quietness. Paul Marks delves into their chances of success.

Weather woes

By Keith Button

February 1, 2022

Safely moving cargo and passengers among buildings and just over treetops will require unique weather information. Keith Button looks at ideas for collecting and delivering the required forecasts and real-time knowledge of conditions.

Faith in batteries

By Keith Button

October 1, 2021

Whether electric rotorcraft will whisk passengers across town in the near future will depend largely on the performance limits of lithium-ion batteries. Will superior lithium batteries be ready in time to meet the urban air mobility demands? Keith Button went looking for answers.

eVTOL: making the electric dream a safe one

By Paul Marks

August 24, 2021

Hundreds of startups are betting that electric aviation will finally provide safe, affordable urban air mobility services. But certifying the airworthiness of their myriad vertical takeoff architectures faces some stiff challenges.

Building vertiport cities

By Cat Hofacker and Alyssa Tomlinson

July 1, 2021

Metropolitan areas including Miami and Orlando have emerged as potential early adopters of urban air mobility flights aboard electric aircraft. But this new mode of travel won’t take off unless UAM companies make the right business decisions about where to locate their vertiports and win permission from local authorities to build these landing pads. Cat Hofacker and Alyssa Tomlinson explore the distinct approaches unfolding in Florida.