Metron Aviation and Airbus UTM Partner in Space with NASA
HERNDON, VA, APRIL 2020 – Metron Aviation, together with Airbus UTM (Unmanned Traffic Management), have been selected by NASA as a partner in the “Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) National Campaign.” NASA’s Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate (ARMD) is pioneering new technologies and paradigms to address key safety and integration barriers in the Urban Air Mobility (UAM) environment. The overall goal of the challenge is to test the capabilities and readiness of vehicles and systems that could revolutionize mobility in and around densely populated metropolitan areas.
The UAM environment represents a confluence of new vehicle types, including air taxis (electric vertical takeoff and landing vehicles, or eVTOLs), and small UAS (Unmanned Aircraft Systems), operating in close proximity to traditional fixed wing and helicopter services. Given the scale and diversity of forecast UAM operations, we can no longer solely rely on human-centered air traffic management and legacy technology with limited automation. As such, one of the major challenges will be how to prioritize access to airspace when there is more demand than capacity can safely accommodate. For legacy airspace, highly sophisticated air traffic management paradigms have been developed for demand-capacity balancing, such as ground delay programs and airspace flow programs. Though certain principles can be transferred, these paradigms are unlikely to port over to the UAM airspace in their current state. Metron Aviation and Airbus UTM have partnered with NASA to develop and demonstrate new paradigms and technology to manage aircraft in the UAM environment through simulation.
Chris Jordan, President, Metron Aviation says “Developing new operational concepts that ensure fair and efficient airspace access has been a core capability of Metron Aviation. The urban air mobility environment presents many new challenges for integrating new vehicle types and flight operation paradigms into the national airspace system. We are pleased and excited to work with Airbus UTM and NASA partners to develop new technologies in this area.”
Bob Hoffman, Vice President, Metron Aviation – “One challenge will be educating the new entrants on how the legacy airspace system works, while also moving legacy systems and operators into the new UAM paradigm… we will need frequent, collaborative forums, in which all voices can be heard and I believe we will make this happen.”
Isabel Del Pozo De Poza, Vice President & Head of UTM, Airbus: UTM is a key enabler to ensuring the safe and sustainable integration of UAM vehicles into our existing air traffic management system. It’s clear that in order to build the safest and most robust systems possible, they must be tested extensively, highly agnostic and globally relevant. We are pleased to work with Metron and NASA to develop, test and deploy these critical components necessary to enable the next age of aviation.
Using scenarios provided by NASA, Metron Aviation and Airbus UTM will demonstrate an initial UTM demand management service as part of a suite of UTM services, simulated in a realistic environment. This effort will leverage Metron’s extensive expertise in ATM demand management, and Airbus UTM’s extensive experience in developing the UTM ecosystem through simulation, research and standards work.
The technologies will be demonstrated in a series of flight and airspace simulation activities to be conducted as part of NASA’s National Campaign. Initial activities for 2020 will focus on integrating the Airbus UTM Reference USS and Metron Aviation traffic management services with the advanced air mobility testbed being developed by NASA and its partners. Integrated technologies will be demonstrated in October of 2020, through a series of operational scenarios simulating planning and execution of UAM flights. Operational Safety demonstrations will follow in 2021 and 2022, leading into demonstrations of more complex operations and high-volume operations in 2023 and beyond.
About Metron Aviation
Metron Aviation is the most trusted and proven innovator in the Air Traffic Management (ATM) industry. A subsidiary of Airbus, Metron Aviation has an honored past of developing ATM and Air Traffic Flow Management (ATFM) solutions for the global aviation industry. By working with all stakeholders in the air traffic management arena — Air Navigation Service Providers, airlines, airports, civil aviation authorities and other influencers — Metron Aviation understands what is at the heart of aviation issues and can tackle even the most vexing air traffic management challenges. Please visit www.metronaviation.com
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