This study addresses the issues involved in creating an infrastructure for taxicopters in urban areas. As new aircraft are designed and produced to accommodate passengers and freight between urban destinations those destinations need to be developed. This study talks about issues surrounding the infrastructure needs of urban vertiports and suggests ways to address the challenges of creating that infrastructure. They suggest use of a “digital twin” to accomplish the analysis.
“A digital twin can be defined as the digital model of a physical system that is regularly updated by the exchange of information between virtual and physical systems.” This just means that the authors recommend using the newest software to analyze the need for service and the availability and best locations for vertiports in those areas. That is a good idea.
In the study the authors use the following acronyms to describe what I call “Taxicopters:” Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft, Aerial Cooperative Vehicles (ACVs), Connected Autonomous Vehicles (CAVs). The public will not refer to each of these different acronyms. They will need to refer to their chosen form of transportation in a way that makes sense to them. They won’t care that the aircraft are cooperating with other aircraft as they are whisked from point A to B. They will want to know that 1) they are safe stepping into this machine and 2) they are getting a good value. They will call all of these types of aircraft the same thing. They will call them the same thing Aldous Huxley called them in his book “Brave New World.” Passengers will call them “Taxicopters.” My definition of a Taxicopter is an pilotless aerial vehicle that takes off and lands vertically and carries passengers for hire. My definition of a “Taxijet” is a pilotless aerial vehicle that takes off and lands conventionally and carries passengers for hire. The distinction is important because a Taxicopter can takeoff and land at a Vertiport while a Taxijet must operate out of an airfield with a runway.
Thanks to Urban Air Mobility (UAM)) for sharing this study.
More articles can be found at https://www.mdpi.com/journal/drones/special_issues/uam