AiRMOUR identifies regulations affecting Urban Air Mobility in Emergency Medical Services
The AiRMOUR project identifies the areas in which rules and regulations cover the needs of the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) scenarios that will be demonstrated within the project and the objective of saving lives.
Some of the rules regulating the conventional air traffic and infrastructure are applicable to drones, but at times the need for rewriting a rule or making a completely new one appears.
Urban Air Mobility (UAM) will be operating at lower altitudes and needs therefore to be integrated into cities’ internal infrastructure. This creates several new interfaces which require regulation. Cooperation with stakeholders, such as city planners and full integration with other air traffic are also necessary.
“To solve this we’ll need more research and are dependent on the latest technologies to get drones to operate safely and as autonomously as possible. For example, for the separation of drones we’ll need both new, safe and proven technology and updated regulations”, says Human Factors Specialist Gustaf Fylkner from Luftfartsverket.
The standard rule for separation in conventional aviation is currently 1000 ft (~300 m) vertical or 3 nautical miles (~5,5 km) horizontally in the Terminal Maneuvering Area (TMA). Much of the UAM traffic will fly in less than 500 ft (~150 m) above the ground and distances between Urban Air Vehicles must be much smaller, likely depending on their ability to navigate and share their position and intention.
Regulators have challenges to rule for something that has never happened before, but there are pan-European initiatives to get new regulations which would cover the emerging UAM services.
The same rules as widely as possible
When flying a drone in a specific or certified category, a rigorous process, e.g. Specific Operations Risk Assessment (SORA), is required to prove that the flight is safe to conduct.
“It is clear that the current rules make it complicated and cumbersome to perform even experimental and validation flights. There are some things more to do before we will see commercial use on a wider scale. Additionally, aviation has to find solutions for charging infrastructure and handling of batteries in the same way the car industry has to find them”, says Fylkner.
The fast evolving drone industry that is eager to prove its concept has often ended up making local solutions to be able to operate at all. This is something that the AiRMOUR project is trying to identify. Are there rules in place today, on a national level? Do they vary? Are some solutions better than the others? Is it possible to formulate a set of rules that would suit all different local applications? If so, it would be better to have the same rules applied everywhere in the European Union and ultimately worldwide.
“The regulatory frameworks applicable to EMS UAM span all three domains: aviation, urban and medical. Medical payloads need to be properly handled at vertiports that may be part of the urban mobility plan and flown according to applicable aviation rules. The combined effort is non-trivial, and AiRMOUR will also provide an overview of the combined regulatory environment”, adds Technical Director Gokul Srinivasan from Robots Expert.
The AiRMOUR project team has so far identified the different areas of regulation which need to be taken into account in the demonstration flights of the project. The partners are collecting data both on the EU and national level.
For further information, please contact:
Swedish Civil Aviation Administration, Luftfartsverket: Gustaf Fylkner, gustaf.fylkner(at)lfv.se
Robots Expert Finland Ltd: Gokul Srinivasan, gokul.srinivasan(at)robots.expert