The Future of Advanced Air Mobility

ICAO Issues Call for Advanced Air Mobility Infrastructure Solutions

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has issued its newest request for information (RFI) to public and private-sector providers in support of the 2023 Drone Enable Symposium, which is scheduled for December 5 to 7 at ICAO headquarters in Montreal.

Over the past five years, ICAO member states have asked it to serve as the global civil aviation facilitator to assist with  integrating uncrewed aircraft systems (UAS) into the aviation regulatory and air traffic control (ATC) framework. In this context, ICAO has hosted four previous symposiums to solicit up-to-date information on UAS and advanced air mobility (AAM).

At the inaugural Drone Enable Symposium in September 2017, member states, industry, and academia submitted RFI responses that addressed UAS foundational components, including registration systems that support remote identification and tracking; communications systems for control, management, and tracking of UAS within specific ATC airspace; and technology to prevent UAS operations in sensitive, restricted, or risky areas, such as near airports.

The objective of the annual RFI has been to synthesize relevant information gleaned from the submissions and utilize this data to provide a globally harmonized and common framework for the development and deployment of UAS and facilitate the increased integration of AAM.

To ensure that sound technical approaches were used for drafting the framework, broad industry, academic, and scientific community research and development initiatives were solicited along with national implementation activities from which relevant lessons could be learned.

“This year’s edition of Drone Enable focuses on the infrastructure solutions which will be needed to support these new types of aircraft and air services as they begin to be used for communities and economies all over the world,” said ICAO Council president Salvatore Sciacchitano.

As such, 2023 RFI submissions are requested to address only two questions: What solutions are needed or are being developed to address communications, navigation, and surveillance (CNS) requirements in low-level airspace? And what critical elements of AAM require global interoperability and harmonization?

Submissions should propose practical solutions, successful research and development activities, and/or best practices, whether existing or proposed, for the two stated topics. If the intent is to address both questions, individual submissions must be provided, addressing each separately. Each response should be in English, not exceed 2,000 words, be an MS-Word compatible document, and be submitted via email.

By submitting an RFI response, ICAO says, “submitters represent that they are prepared to travel to Montreal and arrange accommodations at their own expense to deliver their presentation.” A group of international experts will evaluate submissions based on how well they address one or both of the topics. “Selected presenters will earn an important opportunity to contribute to shaping this incredible new future for powered flight,” said ICAO secretary general Juan Carlos Salazar. The deadline for RFI submissions is May 19, 2023.

ICAO's full RFI document with detailed instructions is available here.