On The Radar
The Demand and Capacity Optimisation for U-Space (DACUS) project last week published a concept of operations focused mainly on how drones will be integrated into urban airspace and provided with ground infrastructure. While much of the report discusses smaller unmanned aircraft, the group, which is backed by Eurocontrol’s Single European Sky ATM Research (Sesar) venture, has also addressed the needs of larger manned aircraft, including eVTOL air taxis.
Starting on page 25, the DACUS report addresses what it refers to as the operational characteristics of the new aircraft. It tracks the evolution of demand through 2050, broken down among applications including mobility, deliveries, public safety and security, energy, and agriculture. Referencing a NASA study, the authors say that while in the U.S. by 2030 there may be as many as 23,000 vehicles engaged in mobility services, the number in Europe is projected to be far lower at just 2,000 (rising to 10,000 by 2050).
The DACUS paper also addresses (on page 31) requirements for what it calls takeoff and landing areas (TOLA), outlining expectations for passenger-carrying VTOL aircraft to operate from a mix of “vertihubs, vertiports, and vertistations.” It compares the anticipated infrastructure needs and available facilities in European cities such as Madrid, Frankfurt, and Toulouse with those in larger U.S. metropolitan areas, such as Dallas and Los Angeles.