Scaling Constraints for Urban Air Mobility Operations: Air Traffic Control, Ground Infrastructure, and Noise
Author(s)Vascik, Parker; Hansman, R. John
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The scalability of the current air traffic control system, the availability of aviation ground infrastructure, and the acceptability of aircraft noise to local communities have been identified as three key operational constraints that may limit the implementation or growth of Urban Air Mobility (UAM) systems. This paper identifies the primary mechanisms through which each constraint emerges to limit the number of UAM operations in an area (i.e. the scale of the service). Technical, ecosystem, or operational factors that influence each of the mechanisms are also identified. Interdependencies between the constraints are shown. Potential approaches to reduce constraint severity through adjustments to the mechanisms are introduced. Finally, an effort is made to characterize the severity of each operational constraint as a function of the density of UAM operations in a region of interest. To this end, a measure of severity is proposed for each constraint. This measure is used to notionally display how the severity of the constraint responds to UAM scaling, and to identify scenarios where efforts to relieve the constraint are most effective. The overall purpose of this paper is to provide an abstraction of the workings of the key UAM operational constraints so that researchers, developers, and practitioners may guide their efforts to mitigation pathways that are most likely to increase achievable UAM system scale.