A range of UTM and ATM challenges could frustrate the introduction of urban and advanced air mobility services according to a report “Scientific Assessment for Urban Air Mobility” by the International Forum for Aviation Research (IFAR), which includes NASA, DLR and NLR.

“Concept of Operations (ConOps) have been under development around the world from both industry as well as ANSP organizations; these ConOps require harmonization for international operations while also allowing for regional adaptation,” say the research bodies.

There is also a lack of consensus over UAM communication, navigation, and surveillance (CNS) functional requirements.  “Once UAM CNS functional and performance requirements are agreed upon and standards are developed, technology assessment and development activities may be initiated,” says the IFAR. “The low-altitude interference-rich environment of urban airspace poses unique challenges that may require novel solutions unique to this industry. Cybersecurity becomes a critical concern once remotely-piloted operations are permitted.”

It also notes that adverse weather is expected to challenge AAM flight stability.

“Sensing or characterizing weather at a higher resolution within micro-environments of urban settings (due to the sensitivity of AAM to smaller-scale weather patterns and onboard sensors) to enable nowcasting of weather effects, and range estimation will be needed for decision making by the system or the operator. Standardized technologies, vertiports, and operational capabilities along with development towards universal definitions, AAM assessment methods, and weather effects will support safe operations.”

The report was published in March this year but made public at the Paris Air Show.

Philip Butterworth-Hayes reporting from Paris Air Show 23.