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NASA's UAM Grand Challenge

News International-French

2 Oct 2019

The next step for realizing UAM begins in 2020 with preparations for a series of activities called the Grand Challenge.

NASA's UAM Grand Challenge

NASA's UAM Grand Challenge

The Grand Challenge series will offer something more valuable than a prize purse – valuable knowledge that will be given to the organizations working to establish the certification requirements and standards needed for the market to move forward.

It’s about promoting public confidence in advanced air mobility systems, and helping organizations and companies learn what it really takes to operate air vehicles safely in an urban environment.

NASA will ask Grand Challenge participants – from vehicle makers to those that provide airspace operations technologies – “what will be the most helpful to you?” and we’ll synthesize their Grand Challenge experiences to answer that question.

The timeline for the Grand Challenge series is dictated by when participants have told us they’ll have technologies ready to test – vehicles (passenger-carrying, cargo-carrying/delivery, sensing/detecting) and the systems required for successful communications and navigation.

In late 2020, there will be developmental testing to prepare for an initial Grand Challenge in 2022 involving a small set of participants, followed by the full Grand Challenge involving many more participants.

The Grand Challenge itself will be a full field demonstration in an urban environment that tests the readiness of companies’ vehicles and airspace operators’ systems to operate during a full range of passenger transport and cargo delivery scenarios under a variety of weather and traffic conditions.

Its objectives are to:

  • Accelerate technology certification and approval
  • Develop flight procedure guidelines
  • Evaluate communication, navigation and surveillance options
  • Demonstrate an airspace system architecture based on NASA’s Unmanned aircraft systems Traffic Management (UTM) construct
  • Collect initial assessments of passenger and community perspectives on vehicle ground noise, cabin noise and on-board ride quality