Aerospace is an industry that never stands still, and ADS members are at the forefront of the next revolution in technology and Research and Development (R&D). From green propulsion methods for long-haul aircraft to innovative wing designs to improve efficiency and sustainability, aerospace is constantly evolving. One area where this is especially exciting is Advanced Air Mobility, or AAM for short.
The whole aviation ecosystem will have to adapt, from airspace and certification to production methods and, most importantly, skills.
AAM is the idea that, following a revolution in electric motors and batteries, a whole new operational model is possible for aviation. Electric Vertical Take off and Landing (eVTOL) vehicles will allow for shorter, more efficient routes – better connecting towns, cities and regions with each other and unlocking intra-city journeys through the sky. In a 2021 report, ADS outlined the potential future for aviation – a more decentralised, distributed aviation system that connects more people in more places than ever before.
Despite the continuing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, 2021 was very much a growth year for the emerging AAM space, with major eVTOL OEMs and ADS members, Joby Aviation and Vertical Aerospace going public and raising significant levels of capital. But the focus now, in 2022, is on certification and making the promise of AAM a reality, through a positive regulatory system and a strong manufacturing and skills base.
ADS, as the trade body for the UK aerospace, defence, space, and security sectors, are naturally working closely in collaboration with industry and the public sector, representing the entire value chain for AAM, from OEMs in the UK and globally, to tier 1s and the broad supply chain. Through the ADS AAM Special Interest Group (SIG), as well as through the Global Urban and Advanced Air Summit (GUAAS), organised by Farnborough International, ADS brings together industry, government, regulators and third parties to work collaboratively on solutions to the big hurdles between now and a successful AAM industry.
As AAM grows, and the vision moves to reality, these hurdles will grow too – the potential global scale of AAM means that the whole aviation ecosystem will have to adapt, from airspace and certification to production methods and, most importantly, skills. Changes of this scale are not easy – but through effective and purposeful collaboration of interested parties, an innovative ecosystem can be delivered to enable a safe and thriving AAM industry. By utilising ADS’ convening, policy, regulatory and business development expertise, ADS are working to fulfil the potential of AAM in the UK, building on the UK’s incumbent world-leading aerospace expertise.