The Innovation Laboratory, Inc. develops urban airspace mapping capabilities that are needed to support the future of Urban Air Mobility (UAM). UAM is envisioned to provide a safe, efficient, and flexible system for air vehicles, possibly autonomous or remotely piloted (Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS)), to move passengers and cargo (packages) within a metropolitan area. These mapping capabilities will support the needs of UAS service suppliers (USSs) to utilize macro level three dimensional (3D) volumes for safe UAS Trajectory-Based Operations (TBO) between locations and within a cityscape. These mapping capabilities will allow for local and state agencies to evaluate the complimentary challenges, impacts, and tradeoffs of proposed UAM-enabled air-based and traditional land-based mobility. We build upon well-established urban planning methods to assess impacts of urban mobility projects on urban infrastructures, urban resources, and public safety. We research the attributes needed in urban airspace maps to enable safe, high volume, UAS operations in a physically constrained urban airspace. Leveraging an existing mature urban planning software system, we build new visualization "layers" required for urban airspace mapping see how various airspace operations constraints, traffic volumes, or design structures will impact UAM operations in the airspace and its interfacing ground-space using new analyses and metrics developed in this SBIR.
UAM is likely to revolutionize the way we move about urban environments. However, the problem is multi-faceted, and requires that new UAM air vehicles, rules and regulations, weather forecast products, airspace designs, legal precedence, and city planning work together to achieve this realization. As NASA refines the operational concept for UAM with industry, this SBIR effort will contribute significantly to the ability to locate and design acceptable vertiport operations for UAM.
While city planners across the US need to evaluate if UAM will be acceptable for their local city 5-year growth plans, emerging UAM vertiport operators will be wanting to select landing sites that provide profitable UAM services, but also ones that will quickly pass city regulations. Our SBIR capabilities bridge the gap and help enable an accelerated growth rate of UAM vertiports and operations.