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Before They Buy eVTOLs, People Need to “Buy Into” eVTOLs

Preparing for the reality of AAM

Illustration of an eVTOL flying above a cityscape.
Will a wary public stall the acceptance of AAM? (Image copyright and courtesy of NASA.)

UAM (urban air mobility) and AAM (advanced air mobility) are rapidly approaching reality as many manufacturers are seeking type certification; several have begun taking preorders for their vehicles.

But the technology and regulatory approvals may prove to be the easiest part of getting urban/air mobility off the ground.

According to a 2022 NASA survey of 1500 people in Ohio and Los Angeles about their acceptance of urban/air mobility, 75% of respondents had no knowledge of AAM.

“You can imagine it’s really hard to engage the public and have a conversation when you’re also trying to teach them what it is,” according to Nancy Mendonca, NASA Deputy in the Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate (ARMD) Mission Integration Office (AMIO).

Public acceptance will require local officials’ engagement, but they are used to dealing “with ground transportation most of their lives,” Mendonca added. Further hindering acceptance of AAM: Local officials are “not really aware of the terminology” of aviation, let alone AAM,” she continued.

While approximately 20% of respondents said they would never fly in an eVTOL, most people said they’d like a vertiport to be located no more than 20 miles (about 32 kilometers) from their home — but also no closer than 10 miles (about 16 kilometers).

Now boarding at vertipad 16

By April 2023, research published in Progress in Aerospace Sciences showed attitudes and awareness toward AAM were increasing:

  • Drone awareness is between 93% and 97% in North America and Europe.
  • Between 40% and 60% of people now support air taxis.

In the late 19th century, the public-at-large was somewhat accustomed to flight, having seen or experienced hot air balloons. But, when the Wright Brothers debuted their flying machine in 1903, it took more than a decade (1914) before Tony Jannus piloted the world’s inaugural commercial flight launching the St. Petersburg-Tampa Airboat Line.

#evtols #evtol #aam #uam #aerocarjournal #nasa

Dave Clarke

Dave Clarke is a California-based writer who is fascinated by the way technology changes our lives.