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Advanced Tech Helps Turn Science Fiction into Science Fact

Advanced Tech Helps Turn Science Fiction into Science Fact

As early as the 1940s, Henry Ford predicted “…a combination airplane and motorcar is coming.” At the time, Ford was ridiculed for the statement, but now, decades later, “flying cars” from the pages of science fiction are coming to the skies of our cities.

There is little doubt that Urban Air Mobility (UAM) will revolutionize transportation systems worldwide. And with early-adopting cities such as Dubai and Singapore expecting to see commercial air-taxi operations commence as early as 2022, change is definitely in the air. Analysists have suggested that, by 2040, the UAM industry could be worth US$1.5 trillion with well over 400,000 units in operation worldwide.

As with many innovations in aerospace, Honeywell is at the forefront of the UAM revolution. We’re working with some of the leaders in UAM, including  Vertical Aerospace, Lilium and Pipistrel. Together, we’re developing new capabilities and scaling proven systems to meet UAS/UAM safety, comfort, size, weight, power and cost requirements. Our technologies are being applied across the industry – in autonomous flightavionicselectric and hybrid-electric propulsionactuation, traffic detection and avoidance, and connectivity.

New rules for the new normal

With the exponential growth in UAM operations that’s forecast, it is clear that regulatory authorities across the globe, including the FAA and EASA, need to carefully prepare and plan for the introduction of UAM services into already congested air and ground transportation systems. Jointly with industry, they will need to develop standards and certification means, in support to a well-defined Concept of Operations.

Leading from the front as always, the Honeywell Advanced Tech team in Europe took the initiative to assemble a consortium to test and validate the introduction of urban air mobility operations in Europe.    

Uspace4UAM – Paving the way for autonomous flight in Europe

The result is Uspace4UAM, a SESAR sponsored Very Large Demo (VLD) project, which will help bridge the gap between the development and the deployment of UAMs across Europe. The project will tackle the real-world issues of combined operations within the existing ATM infrastructure. These issues include social acceptance, business viability, the regulation and safety of increased autonomation and ultimately autonomous flight. Equally important, the Uspace4UAM project team will engage and liaise with international partners to develop global standards.

The Uspace4UAM project brings together European partners from across the eco-system, including Honeywell as consortium lead, international smart cities, airports, Air Navigation Services Providers, research centres, UAM OEMs, and drone service providers – click here to view our Uspace4UAM infographic. An Advisory Board will provide project oversight, review and contribute to the overall proof of concept. 

The project is comprised of  five different demonstration activities, of which two will focus on UAM, and two on drone operations. These will be complemented by simulated flights in several select European Smart Cities. In all, up to 215 demonstration flight will take place to study the impact of UAM/UAV operations on the existing ecosystem while looking at how regulation and standardization can be established to support the business case for a sustainable UAM industry while operating safely in a multi-modal transport network.

Key to the success of future UAM operations – and the long-term prospects of the industry, will be building the confidence of the public that Urban Air Mobility is safe, well-regulated and integrated into the existing air and ground transportation systems. The Uspace4UAM project is, therefore, an important and integral step in the introduction of automated and autonomous flights in Europe.

Jolana Dvorska
Avionics Architect – Advanced Technology Europe, Honeywell International s.r.o.

In her current role, Jolana is responsible for the overall technical leadership of Honeywell’s contribution to the European Union’s Single European Sky ATM Research (SESAR) program. Through this role, she is helping to define and shape future aviation technologies for greener, more flexible and safer mobility. Within Honeywell’s Urban Air Mobility (UAM) research program, she is involved in development of the overall concept as well as specific navigational aspects, focusing on solutions that will enable these vehicles to be increasingly autonomous in the future. With over 15 years of professional experience in international and multicultural environments, Jolana has been working as a principal researcher in leadership roles with special focus on automation and autonomy, navigation, guidance systems, augmentation systems, their performance aspects and benefits, as well as flight operations.

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