Image courtesy: Skyports
In the past few years, we’ve written numerous articles about advanced air mobility and eVTOL technology, and the impact both could have on global transport. If they live up to their potential, AAM and eVTOL tech will bring economic growth – both during production and use – reduced carbon emissions, and improved connectivity.
In 2021, ADS commissioned a research report on the potential impact of AAM, including a UK market outlook. Its findings show a lot of promise for what AAM could mean to the country.
The ADS report was sponsored by several big names, including the Department for International Trade, the Aerospace Technology Institute, and UKRI. A general summary of the report forecasts the UK as a strong contender for leadership in the AAM sector, despite it not being pegged as the first country to establish eVTOL networks.
Respondents to the reports’ surveys believe the US will be the first country to establish sub-regional transport networks (followed by the UK), with the US and Singapore leading in various other established networks. The UK might not be the first country to make use of AAM, but as the report states, it could be one of the best.
So, if the UK won’t be the first country to launch AAMs, how could it be one of the best? Well, an important factor is its existing aerospace industry, which has a strong market position and can be leveraged to develop AAM and eVTOL. Along with the collaboration element, the UK’s aerospace industry also carries a certain prestige that could prove invaluable.
But another important aspect is the UK government’s appreciation of technological development. Take the fact that the UK built the first vertiport in 2022 as an example. We could also look at a 2022 government initiative totalling £273 million to fund sustainable aerospace development. The bottom line is that there are plenty of people in the British government who understand the long-term potential of developing this kind of technology.
However, as the report concludes, there are numerous steps the UK must take to secure its position as an industry leader. It’ll come as no surprise, but the UK is by no means the largest or wealthiest country in the running to develop AAM technology. When it’s up against the likes of the US and China, the UK must do a lot to hold its own.
To do so, there must be a combination of swift regulation and decisive action. The ADS report identifies numerous areas that could secure UK success, including government funding, existing startup infrastructure, and public perception. Considering we already have the first two, the UK is in a good position to establish an AAM industry.
The report predicts that the UK will have some form of AAM network established in the next decade, only a few years behind the US, China and Singapore. Provided decision-makers understand the potential positive impact of developing an AAM industry, this seems like an entirely achievable target.