Commute in the Skies? The Future of Urban Air Mobility

America’s infrastructure is seriously outdated, contributing to record congestion, growing environmental concerns, and people spending more time in their vehicles than ever before.

But what if a considerable amount of traffic was lifted up into the sky? That’s the potential relief Urban Air Mobility, or UAM, can provide to the country’s infrastructure and the taxpayer money we spend to maintain it. UAM will change the way people connect with each other and travel through on-demand passenger transportation services. While the strenuous commute people dread each day could become an easy flight over traffic, potholes, and construction, it’s not the only benefit UAM will bring. Air taxis and buses could ease commuting times and travel for the masses, while new ambulances could quickly transport patients to treatment. Long-distance air transportation could connect rural and urban areas like never before. This new technology can also create more options for those who are elderly or disabled. The benefits are not only evident, but expansive – potentially improving the lives of millions.

UAM is not a new concept. Over the decades, technology has advanced through cooperation between industry and government. Today, more than 70 companies are working in this area, with over $1 billion invested in 2018 alone. And we’re seeing the results. Last month, Bell Helicopter released its design concept for their new tilt-rotor “Nexus” air taxi. Boeing made headlines this year with their first public unmanned UAM test flight. And Embraer Air released a concept for an electric air taxi capable of rooftop service during the 2018 Uber Elevate Summit.

The aviation industry is on the verge of a technological innovation that will revolutionize the way we move goods and people. Much like Henry Ford did with the Model T and the Wright Brothers did with the first flight, UAM technologies will change people’s lives – and our world – for the better.

But to ensure American leadership in this area and make this future a reality, government and the aerospace industry must continue their historic relationship based in bipartisanship. For the last 100 years, together we’ve taken flight and soared among the stars. To achieve our dreams for the next hundred years, that bipartisan partnership must remain strong and grow.

Next week, we’ll outline six steps to make certain our country is ready for UAM, and ready to soar over traffic jams.