Airservices Australia and EmbraerX spinoff Eve Urban Air Mobility Solutions provided more details about their collaboration on developing urban air mobility (UAM) services in Melbourne Australia, as outlined in their recently released concept of operations (CONOPS) for the UAM market. Melbourne offers unique air traffic challenges but is also one of the world’s cities, like Sao Paulo, Brazil, where high levels of helicopter traffic provide a potential framework for UAM operations.
Melbourne was selected in June 2019 as the first international Uber Air launch city, but with Uber recently having sold its Uber Elevate operation to Joby Aviation, the door appears to be open for other prospective service providers. Embraer was one of eight Uber Elevate manufacturing partners, but this agreement is now null and void.
A recent online press briefing hosted by the Vertical Flight Society featured David Rothblatt, v-p of business development at EmbraerX’s Eve subsidiary and Kristian Cruickshank, program manager-Integrated Airspace Program at Airservices Australia.
What Rothblatt and the Eve team bring to this effort is work that Embraer subsidiary Atech has already done to facilitate more than 1,300 helicopter operations per day in Sao Paulo. “We built the software and procedures,” he said, “and that enabled the know-how that we bring [to the collaboration].” Eve is a spin-off from EmbraerX and was launched in October 2020.
Where Airservices Australia comes in is to insure the airspace is managed safely with all the different types of aircraft that will fly there, including drones, UAVs, air taxis, etc. “We want to be an honest broker between industry, government needs, and the community,” said Cruickshank.
“Our collaboration with EmbraerX cuts across different aspects,” he continued. Currently, Airservices Australia is working on three key areas: protecting traditional air traffic with Aerodrome Boundary Management; UAS Traffic Management (UTM) and Collaborative Traffic Management in the Stratosphere (CTMS); and the question of how to design low-level airspace for new, non-traditional users.
As Rothblatt explained, “This is the future imagined. It’s a way for us to think about how we can build on top of existing procedures, routes, and infrastructure and how to build the next-gen UAM routes and procedures. This is a complete solution, not just for ANSPs [air navigation service providers] but for pilots, fleet operators, and network operations centers.” Further, he added, “Eve is now partnering and collaborating with aviation authorities around the world.” The idea is to develop CONOPS not just for Australia, but to use Melbourne as a test case that can be scaled to fit other locales, he explained.