Urban Air Mobility (UAM) is a major theme at Amsterdam Drone Week (ADW). These discussions are about big, high level ideas – but ideas that have the potential to change the way that everyday people get to and from work and move from place to place in their daily lives. Anyone who has experienced a long commute or a frustrating drive home from the airport can appreciate the potential for expanding transportation systems into the skies. The drone industry has a major part to play in that development, not just through the introduction of passenger drones but through developments in connectivity, blockchain, and the Internet of Things.
In an address at ADW this morning, Dr. Johanna Tzanidaki, ERTICO’s Director of Deployment and Innovation, explained the “Internet of Mobility” and what that means for the future of drone transportation.
ERTICO is focused on Intelligent Transport Systems, or ITS. “ITS stands for so many things,” says Tzanidaki. “It’s drones, security, and multi-modality.” ERTICO’s vision for mobility is a shared, digital, multi-modal and on-demand network. In practical terms, that means logging on to one system and determining the best and most convenient way to get from point A to point B: combining modes like bikes, cars, and drones as appropriate.
Mobility as a Service (MaaS) is a concept that is already in use – as the massive success of ride sharing services like Uber and Lyft demonstrate. MaaS, explains Tzanidaki, involves a journey planner that handles booking and ticketing, and multi-modal transportation options, including drones. It requires enabling technologies like AI and blockchain to link these services -the Internet of Mobility – and it requires, above all, cooperation. “Innovation can not be done by one partner,” says Tzanadaki. “It’s becoming more and more evident that everything is integrated.”
“You need real time information, not just from the road network, but from the mobility network. You need cooperation from all players – public and private,” she says.
If MaaS systems are already in use, and expanding, bringing passenger drones into the system may not be as far off as we might assume. ERTICO is already working on UAM – on the integration of drones with the MaaS concept, the physical and regulatory infrastructure, and the support to cities and public authorities. In a relatively short number of years, the long commute that travelers experience sitting in cars may become shorter, cleaner, and healthier – with many more options for transportation, including drones.
Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.
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