According to NASA officials, both “advanced air mobility” and “national campaign” better reflect the goals of the undertaking, which is planned as a series of field demonstrations to evaluate the readiness of new types of aircraft and airspace management systems. The demonstrations will progress in stages to encompass a full range of scenarios under varying weather and traffic conditions — including, but not limited to, scaled urban air taxi operations.
“We’ve talked mostly over the past couple of years about ‘urban air mobility,’” said NASA AAM mission manager Davis Hackenberg in the web conference that served as a virtual kick-off for the agency’s AAM Ecosystem Working Groups (a substitute for an in-person event that was canceled due to coronavirus concerns). “We’d always intended to include other types of [mobility], whether that was rural or urban, but the name I think was getting in the way a little bit.”
The more inclusive term “advanced air mobility” encompasses a wider range of transformational applications enabled by electrification and automation, whether performed by eVTOL aircraft, electric conventional take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft, or small drones. These might include cargo transportation or aerial work operations, in addition to the large-scale air taxi operations that have become synonymous with “urban air mobility.”