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AAM: Advanced Air Mobility

Expected “take-off” of Advanced Air Mobility, comparing 2019 data of commercial airlines with expected deployment of AAM in 2030. The uptake, assuming the forecast is accurate, would be impressive. Image credit: McKinsey&Company

It is now a few years that I have seen news on flying cars, actually flying taxis, being just around the corner. There have been a few trials in Dubai and Singapore (the former leveraging on the desert the latter on the harbour to stssy out of the way of densely populated areas) and several promises of flying taxis initiating public service. In Dubai there was the expectation of service for the Expo 2020 (shifted to 2021) but it did not materialise.

In spite of the promise status of flying taxis there seems to be a consensus that by the end of this decade Advanced Air Mobility, AAM, will be a way of life in many places.

A recent report by McKinsey foresees a significant market for AAM (look at the graphic), to reach 3 B$ worldwide (compare this with the 33B$ of commercial airlines in 2019 -2020 and 2021 have suffered from the pandemic). That would represent a tremendous growth.  The report foresees that the average travel time for AAM will be around 18′ (commercial airlines have an average flight time over 2 hours). This is not surprising since AAM is targeting local traffic as a substitute of cars, and even less surprising considering that AAM is expected to be electric powered.

The number of flights per day, per Operator, is expected to reach 20,000 with a fleet size exceeding 1,000 vehicles (a large commercial airlines is around 2,000 with 800 airplanes in the fleet). Interesting is also the figure associated to the number of pilots, 4,500 (versus 10,500 for the airlines), indicating that by 2030 most AAM will still be operated by a certified pilot, not by fully autonomous vehicles.

I found the video below quite interesting in addressing several aspect of AAM and the expected evolution.  I remain a bit skeptical on such a quick uptake of AAM but I am no expert and my feelings are rooted in the past (predictions) rather than in the future… I guess that in the next 3 years the picture will become clear.

About Roberto Saracco

Roberto Saracco fell in love with technology and its implications long time ago. His background is in math and computer science. Until April 2017 he led the EIT Digital Italian Node and then was head of the Industrial Doctoral School of EIT Digital up to September 2018. Previously, up to December 2011 he was the Director of the Telecom Italia Future Centre in Venice, looking at the interplay of technology evolution, economics and society. At the turn of the century he led a World Bank-Infodev project to stimulate entrepreneurship in Latin America. He is a senior member of IEEE where he leads the New Initiative Committee and co-chairs the Digital Reality Initiative. He is a member of the IEEE in 2050 Ad Hoc Committee. He teaches a Master course on Technology Forecasting and Market impact at the University of Trento. He has published over 100 papers in journals and magazines and 14 books.