New Urban Air Mobility Group Hopes To Help Shape Future Policy

 - November 6, 2019, 7:01 AM
The new Community Air Mobility Initiative (CAMI) will assist in developing the emerging urban air mobility (UAM) industry, as well as aid cities with the integration of such systems. UAM involves not just airspace concerns but also infrastructure-related issues such as where to locate landing ports for eVTOLS and how the distribution of those ports would affect various modes of a city’s ground transportation system. (Photo: Signature Flight Support)

The Community Air Mobility Initiative (CAMI) has been formed around the emerging urban air mobility (UAM) industry and will assist in its development, as well as help cities integrate such systems, the Seattle-based nonprofit organization announced today. “New technologies and new aircraft promise to make flight accessible and practical on a daily basis for more people than ever before,” said CAMI co-executive director Anna Dietrich. “With that promise comes the responsibility to integrate those aircraft into our communities safely, responsibly, and equitably. We created CAMI as the industry’s commitment to our neighbors and the decision-makers who support them to work to ensure that happens.”

On a conference call with reporters, Dietrich said CAMI’s charge is to work with state and local officials on integrating UAM in their communities through public education and helping to shape policies governing and regulating UAM in local jurisdictions. Dietrich noted there already exists a patchwork of state regulations and laws regarding small unmanned aerial systems. 

“This is a fairly time-sensitive project that we’ve undertaken,” she said. “We do need to get ahead of potential issues with awareness and education now while the policies are first being considered. After we have policy and legislation and requirements on the books, it will be much harder to recover from that and change that, as opposed to working with these decision-makers from the beginning.”

Those decision-makers not only include state and local elected officials, but also transportation departments, urban planners, real estate developers, and business owners since UAM involves not just airspace concerns but also infrastructure-related issues such as where to locate landing ports for eVTOLS and how the distribution of those ports would affect various modes of a city’s ground transportation system. 

“When we talk about the vision that we have for urban air mobility, we’re asking aviation to intimately integrate into an existing urban transportation system,” Dietrich’s counterpart, CAMI co-executive director Yolanka Wulff, said. “This is no longer a segregated system. It’s an integrated system, and in fact that is what makes urban air mobility both so valuable and interesting, but also challenging.”

Early backers of CAMI include trade groups such as NBAA, General Aviation Manufacturers Association, and the Vertical Flight Society; OEMs Bell and Raytheon; and fledgling eVTOL manufacturers Karem Aircraft, Joby Aviation, and Jump Aero. CAMI has a total of 13 founding member companies and organizations.