“…While topics related to Unmanned Aircraft Systems Traffic Management (UTM) systems and U-space have been a major part of both Commercial UAV Expo Americas and Commercial UAV Expo Europe, a new connection for these events to Amsterdam Drone Week has enabled such discussions to be highlighted in a whole new manner. The Advanced Air Mobility Summit that was part of the conference program for the Commercial UAV Expo Americas event highlighted the benefits that these connections can enable in the short and long term.
Moderated by Arjun Garg, former Chief Counsel and Acting Deputy Administrator of the FAA and a current partner at Hogan Lovells, the session opened with a message from Jay Merkle, Executive Director of UAS Integration at the FAA. He talked about the agency’s commitment to maintaining the safety of the airspace no matter the type or size of aircraft that enters it and specifically mentioned that AAM and drones are not the same. He also talked about how the FAA is focused on taking their lessons learned from UAV/UAS and applying them to AAM.
From there, Garg welcomed Clint Harper and Kofi Asante to the stage. Harper is a Los Angeles Urban Air Mobility Fellow while Asante is the VP of Strategy and Business Development at Elroy Air, and their contrast of AAM use cases was explored in detail. Harper’s organization is exploring how these vehicles can be integrated into established urban ecosystems while the Chaparral vehicle that has been developed by Elroy Air is designed to autonomously operate in locations that can be far more remote.
Harper mentioned his desire to improve the quality of life of the people in his community as the reason he’s so focused on figuring out what it means to integrate this new technology into the city, while Asante talked through Elroy Air’s mission to expand the reach of express logistics. While both are approaching the integration of the airspace from different perspectives and in different environments, each had a lot to say about the biggest challenges for AAM being similar.
After taking audience questions, Harper and Asante departed the stage as Garg welcomed Amit Ganjoo, Parimal Kopardekar (PK), and Andrew Giacini. The three explored their vision for AAM that are as much about technology as they are about cooperation, with specific connections to regulation. Where and how these elements needed to line up and overlap defined their conversation…”