The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) is seeking public input on the
development of a national strategy on Advanced Air Mobility as required by the Advanced Air
Mobility Coordination and Leadership Act. DOT has formed a team composed of multiple
executive agencies that is seeking input on a variety of topics.
The Biden administration informed on Tuesday it has formed an interagency team to develop a national strategy relating to advanced air mobility efforts such as flying taxis.
AAM aircraft – typically incorporating electric
and hybrid-electric propulsion with vertical or short takeoff and landing capability – could
greatly expand the reach and efficiency of current transportation networks by providing, among
other things, shuttle services between airports and downtown locations, more dynamic and
affordable medical evacuation and emergency response, rapid transportation of goods between
cargo terminals and job sites, and on-demand air services between regions without existing rapid,
reliable transportation links.
Electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft (eVTOL) have been touted as the future of urban air mobility. Low-altitude urban air mobility aircraft has drawn intense global interest, with numerous eVTOL companies going public.
The U.S. Transportation Department said the team includes NASA, Transportation Security Administration, Federal Aviation Administration and Federal Communications Commission.
The FAA earlier this month issued an “updated blueprint” for airspace and other changes to accommodate future air taxis. Last year, it issued a proposal to update its air carrier definition to add “powered-lift” operations to regulations covering other commercial operations like airlines, charters and air tours.
The FAA said that under the blueprint, air taxi operations will begin at a low rate, similar to helicopters, and using existing routes and infrastructure such as helipads and vertiports.
The FAA is separately developing a powered-lift operations rule for certifying pilots and operating requirements to fly eVTOLs. The agency expects to publish the proposal this summer.
Acting FAA Administrator Billy Nolen has said the agency does not expect the first eVTOL to begin commercial operations until late 2024 or early 2025.
Airlines and other companies are looking at developing transport services using battery-powered aircraft that can take off and land vertically to ferry travelers to airports or for short city trips, allowing them to beat traffic.