NASA announces urban air mobility challenge
NASA’s UAM Grand Challenge will be a full field demonstration in an urban environment to test the readiness of UAM vehicles and airspace operator systems.
The goal of NASA’s UAM Grand Challenge is to provide a proving ground where NASA, vehicle providers, airspace technology providers, and the public learn what it really requires to achieve urban air mobility. Source | NASA
NASA (Washington, D.C., U.S.) has announced plans for a Grand Challenge series aimed at providing a proving ground where NASA, vehicle providers, airspace technology providers, and the public learn what it really requires to achieve urban air mobility (UAM) and operate air vehicles safely in an urban environment..
In late 2020, there will be developmental testing to prepare for an initial Grand Challenge in 2022 involving a small set of participants, followed by the full Grand Challenge involving many more participants.
The Grand Challenge itself will be a full field demonstration in an urban environment that tests the readiness of companies’ vehicles and airspace operators’ systems to operate during a full range of passenger transport and cargo delivery scenarios under a variety of weather and traffic conditions.
The objectives of the challenge are to:
- Accelerate technology certification and approval
- Develop flight procedure guidelines
- Evaluate communication, navigation and surveillance options
- Demonstrate an airspace system architecture based on NASA’s Unmanned aircraft systems Traffic Management (UTM) construct
- Collect initial assessments of passenger and community perspectives on vehicle ground noise, cabin noise and on-board ride quality
According to NASA, the timeline for the Grand Challenge series is dictated by when participants will have technologies ready to test including vehicles (passenger-carrying, cargo-carrying/delivery, sensing/detecting) and the systems required for successful communications and navigation.
The NASA Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate (ARMD) Urban Air Mobility (UAM) Grand Challenge Virtual Meeting was held on August 27, 2019. Learn more at nasa.gov/uamgc.
Its first flight, with a duration of 53 seconds, was fully self-piloted and the vehicle completed a second flight the following day.
The company is having discussions with charter services about using its Sun Flyer 4 aircraft to provide on-demand air taxi service.
The air taxi is powered by a hybrid-electric propulsion system from Safran and features Bell’s signature powered lift concept incorporating six tilting ducted fans.