Researchers are one step closer to integrating air taxis and other electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) vehicles into the nation’s busiest airports, thanks to a new air traffic simulation made by NASAs Ames Research Center in Californias Silicon Valley and Joby Aviation.
These zero-operating-emission aircraft use electricity to take off, cruise, and land, and provide an attractive option for the commercial industry interested in more sustainable transportation.
NASA and Joby researchers recently invited representatives from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), National Association of Air Traffic Controllers, and stakeholders to view the simulation at the Ames air traffic control simulation facility, called FutureFlight Central. The two-story facility offers a 360-degree, full-scale simulation of an airport, where controllers, pilots and airport personnel can test operating procedures and evaluate new technologies.
Trying to make a better quality of life, said Savvy Verma, urban mobility researcher at NASA Ames. Some people were stuck in traffic for hours on the way to the airport. A 12-mile trip can take up to 45 minutes. Imagine you can make the same trip in 15 minutes.
In preparation for air taxis and other aircraft that fly passengers in and out of airports, NASA and industry partners are working with the FAA to demonstrate how to creatively use existing that air tools and procedures can support the safe integration of air taxi operations into national airspace.
The groups are also exploring potential changes to the current airspace system to enable more flights. The new air traffic management integration simulation that NASA is doing with Joby will provide useful air traffic controller data to the FAA and industry for integrating these aircraft into operations.
There is a lot of momentum around the world for advanced air mobility, Verma said. We are talking about the integration of these types of air vehicles, but to show them in high-fidelity simulation is a great promise.
Inside the facility, visitors can see eVTOL pilots safely flying along NASA-developed, predetermined routes at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport and Dallas Love Field Airport. eVTOL pilots operate seamlessly through airports, with the facility simulating weather conditions, live flight data, and airport operational data. The simulation shows how NASA’s air traffic control methods and airspace concepts can significantly reduce the workload of air traffic controllers for eVTOL operations at airports.
This simulation confirms the idea that we can find a way to safely integrate these space vehicles at scale, said NASA researcher Ken Freeman.
The human-in-the-loop simulation, featuring active and retired air traffic controllers, evaluates a series of traffic schedules created by Joby based on the company’s market analysis and expectations of future demand. .
NASA’s initial analysis of the simulation shows that researchers can scale these methods for operating eVTOLs at other airports around the country, potentially reducing the workload of those air traffic controller. NASA plans to publish a complete analysis of the simulation results in 2024. The new data will be provided to the FAA, commercial industry, and airports to help identify tools and control methods. of air traffic that enables the long-term integration of eVTOLs into near-term and future airport operations. Enabling eVTOLs as a taxi service for passengers to and from airports in the future could begin to reduce carbon emissions and greatly improve the travel experience for passengers. This project supports NASA’s Advanced Air Mobility mission, which focuses on air taxi and drone research with industry and government partners.
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Image Source : www.nasa.gov