Five state and local government entities have signed agreements with NASA’s aeronautical innovators to work together in considering how emerging cargo-carrying drone and passenger-carrying air taxi services can best be included in their civic transportation plans.
According to a NASA press statement:
“The five cooperative activities will take place through summer of 2022, each including a series of at least four workshops where experts from the localities and NASA’s Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) mission will work on updating local plans and creating new plans that might be needed to enable AAM. The five government entities that have signed agreements with NASA are the Massachusetts Department of Transportation; Minnesota Department of Transportation; the North Central Texas Council of Governments Department of Transportation; the Ohio Unmanned Aircraft Systems Center of the Ohio Department of Transportation; and the City of Orlando, Florida.
“The entities will include additional partners drawn from local governments, airport authorities and operators, chambers of commerce, universities, vehicle and subsystem manufacturers, infrastructure providers, workforce development organizations and others. The workshops will address a wide range of pertinent topics related to AAM – from identifying a common set of terms to use in discussions and planning documents, to evaluating potential criteria that might be used in locating future “vertiports” for vertical takeoff and landing aircraft – and much more.
“What’s the best way for a local government to implement an AAM system that is equitable, sustainable, and integrated with its other transportation systems? Answering that is a big part of what this is all about,” said Nancy Mendonca, NASA’s deputy AAM mission integration manager.
Another major goal for the outcome of these agreements is to develop a “best practice” document around a key topic that other states and municipalities might follow in developing their own plans for integrating AAM into their transportation systems, according to the press statement.
“We also hope these workshops and any subsequent best practices that are identified will address successful methods for engaging the public in the planning process and generating support for AAM in their communities,” Mendonca said.
NASA will share with partners what it has learned so far about the challenges associated with planning for and safely operating new types of aircraft, the ways to approach solving those challenges, and what NASA has in store for future research that includes hosting flight demonstrations as part of its AAM National Campaign.
The National Campaign is a series of flight demonstrations that will bring together aircraft manufacturers, airspace traffic management service providers, and others to show how AAM can safely operate and earn public confidence and support.
NASA researchers also will take what they learn from this new group of partners to refine their research and NASA’s AAM vision and share that information with other industry and government groups involved with AAM including the Federal Aviation Administration.
Meanwhile, the partners will utilize their planned and existing public engagement forums to provide progress on their current transportation planning and AAM-related efforts.
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