The White House has held a summit on advanced air mobility, including drones and electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft.
The summit examined “the future of aviation in America and the regulatory strategy towards responsible and equitable adoption of these technologies.” Specific topics at the summit included exploring the benefit of Uncrewed Aerial Systems (UAS) and Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) vehicles to the public, emerging aviation technology in local communities, National Airspace integration for UAS/AAM, experiences with security concerns from emerging aviation technologies, such as the threat of rogue drones and getting ready for the next generation of flight.
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The summit closed with a panel discussion on promoting American Global Leadership and Competitiveness into the 21st Century before closing remarks by Joshua Geltzer, deputy assistant to the president and deputy homeland security advisor on the National Security Council.
At the summit, acting FAA administrator Billy Nolen indicated that two companies expect to earn FAA certification of their Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) vehicles as early as 2024, and he noted that the FAA has received many proposals for a diverse set of AAM concepts. According to Nolen, more than 860,000 drones are registered in the United States, and by 2025, the United States could have a total of more than 2.6 million commercial and recreational drones flying in its airspace.
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Nolen added that in addition to supporting certification for eVTOL aircraft, another priority of the FAA is working to enable routine drone operations that can be carried out beyond the line of sight of a visual observer. As noted in prior posts, addressing this issue is crucial to the future such aircraft. Nolen also noted that the FAA has “a comprehensive integration strategy for drones and AAM” involving partners at NASA and other federal agencies.
“With all aspects of aviation that came before, this new era will be an evolution, where advancement to the next step will be based on safety. As safety regulators, it is the job of the FAA and its counterparts around the world to help ensure that innovation doesn’t come at the expense of safety,” Nolen emphasised.