Infrastructure Could Be AAM's Greatest Challenge, Say Experts

 - August 18, 2022, 9:18 AM
NASA Langley's Remote Operations for Autonomous Missions lab simulates urban mobility. (Photo: NASA)

Putting in place the complex infrastructure required for so-called advanced air mobility (AAM) operations could be the new sector's greatest challenge. That was the consensus of a diversity of speakers at the recent Electric Aircraft Symposium, hosted by the Vertical Flight Society (VFS).

Experts pointed to a plethora of potential roadblocks including the need to raise massive amounts of capital for AAM infrastructure, the complexity of folding autonomous flight into the national airspace system, and the costs associated with delivering sufficient electric power to vertiports. But what was not disputed was the tremendous financial impact AAM could have on states and local communities. And that’s key to raising the $10 to $30 billion needed to build out AAM infrastructure in the 38 largest American urban markets.

However, those funds are unlikely to be provided by the public sector, and private sector sources can’t be counted on to provide them without rock-solid demand forecasting. To be credible, that forecasting must be local and there must be more of it. Ruben Del Rosario of Crown Consulting pointed out that a study done in Ohio found that AAM could add $11.4 billion to that state's gross domestic product by 2045, create more than 15,000 jobs, and raise $2.5 billion in tax revenue, with a big chunk of those numbers coming from cargo and emergency services operations.

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