The Future of Advanced Air Mobility

CAAM Steps Up Advanced Air Mobility Projects in Canada

The Canadian Advanced Air Mobility consortium is focusing on building advanced air mobility (AAM) technology to serve regional air mobility needs for Canada’s cities, suburbs, and remote areas, according to CAAM executive director JR Hammond. He delivered CAAM’s views during an online briefing held December 14 by the Vertical Flight Society’s Montreal-Ottawa Chapter titled “A National Strategy for AAM in Canada.”

AAM operations will not be limited to vertical takeoff and landing vehicles, he explained, but encompass short and conventional takeoff and landing aircraft as well. Zero emissions is the goal, as is expanding AAM capability to larger aircraft with more range and passenger-carrying capacity.

CAAM’s 20-year vision goals are “to put that audacious, exciting, creative force to creating that ecosystem,” Hammond said. This includes targets of 40 billion revenue-passenger kilometers per year and 40 million freight tonne-kilometers per year in Canada, all zero-emissions AAM operations.

“This goal is audacious,” he admitted. “This is not only an industry solution but insights and research and development from academia, three levels of government, and investors showcasing different opportunities.”

Hammond highlighted three CAAM announcements during his presentation.

The first is that its efforts begin in the city of Vancouver and the province of British Columbia, and if that is successful, then it can be replicated across Canada. CAAM has also been working during the past two months to launch a greater Toronto AAM effort in January. “Toronto will play a strong role,” he said.

The second announcement focused on CAAM’s strategic projects for 2021, which include a Canada AAM roadmap, a cancer isotope transportation use case project for Vancouver that will expand to a revenue-producing partnership with helicopter airline Helijet, more work on the next generation of eVTOL aircraft, and an AAM feasibility study for Toronto.

In the third announcement, Hammond said that Vancouver is partnering with the World Economic Forum to make it the inaugural city for the Forum’s AAM Coalition. “This is an opportunity to bring Canada’s voice and [work] with the platform that the World Economic Forum has created,” he said. “We want to make sure this is an inclusive conversation with the industry. This will be showcased with the starting market of Vancouver to show how advanced air mobility can play out. It’s audacious and challenging and will require cooperation. This is our opportunity.”

Hammond further explained, “Our main goal is reaching out to the ecosystem, identifying existing platforms [such as Helijet’s helicopter service], and understanding municipal requirements for moving to the next step. Advanced air mobility is the future, but we can build on existing platforms. And Canada has a smaller market where we can structure the federal, provincial, and civil side with key decision-makers at the table.”