“I am very pleased to be in the AiRMOUR External Advisory Board in my role as Leader of the UAM Initiative Cities Community (UIC2) of the EU’s Smart Cities Marketplace. With the prospective increased use of Urban Air Mobility (UAM) worldwide, whether through drone services, or future deployment of so-called ‘air-taxis’ (eVTOLs) for passengers and cargo transportation, the low-level airspace above cities becomes subject to a new kind of airborne traffic.

To ensure a sustainable and responsible approach to the development of UAM services, it is important that cities and regions are informed and actively involved to ensure the integrated and sustainable planning for mobility, and wider urban development, for the benefits of their citizens. For example, critical time savings related to urgent medical deliveries and emergency services. Studies have shown that UAM medical services such as medical deliveries (e.g. blood deliveries by drone) and emergency services (e.g. eVTOL air ambulances) are most widely accepted by citizens and will therefore likely be the first permanent UAM services. The aforementioned prospects need focused research and cooperation between local authorities, the medical sector and the UAM (drone/eVTOLs) industry: that is exactly what the AiRMOUR project is doing through its 3-year duration (2021-2023).

The European Commission provides significant funding to bring Urban Air Mobility forward, from various different angles. AiRMOUR is one of the main projects focusing on medical services, public acceptance, safety aspects as well as the role of cities and tools to help them with this new form of mobility. The learning curve is steep and progress is fast, but challenges remain.

The UIC2 (UAM Initiative Cities Community) has an important role in shaping the future of airborne mobility above our cities and regions. The Amsterdam Drone Week is coming up in March 2022: topics related to urban air mobility in cities and regions are high on the agenda there, too. Let’s continue to build this important ecosystem together. Stay tuned for interesting outputs from AiRMOUR and hopefully see you in Amsterdam.”

Dr Vassilis Agouridas is Leader of the UAM Initiative Cities Community (UIC2) of the EU’s Smart Cities Marketplace, Head of EU Public Co-Creation & Ecosystem Outreach at Airbus Urban Mobility, and Chairman of the UAM Committee of ASD Europe.