The emergence of the Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) and Urban Air Mobility (UAM) sector has been rapidly gaining traction, the realisation of this seemingly far-reaching idea will likely become a reality within a few years.
There are multiple electric Vertical Take-off and Landing (eVTOL) manufactures designing and testing aircraft with various range, load, and driver vs autonomous pilotage capabilities. This new mobility sector promises significantly shorter journey times with zero emissions. To enable this new form of mobility, in addition to the eVTOL aircraft design and required legislation for these to be able to take flight, a network of vertiports will need to be developed.
Vertiport designs will come in various forms in accordance with location and purpose. Some will be part of large transport hubs located at existing transport terminals such as airports or rail stations, others will be smaller, standalone operations at inner city or rural destinations.
“We believe that the typical Vertiport business case cannot support on site services often found at airports, instead, Vertiports will need operations like that of rail stations. They will need to rely on remote control and monitoring of their infrastructure systems from a centralised operations room that supervises multiple Vertiports.” – Aaron Erwin, Firstco Systems Engineer
Vertiport Remote Control and Monitoring
Due to the geographically disbursed nature of vertiports and that they will need to be rolled out at scale, a fresh approach will need to be taken to vertiport design, operations, and maintenance.
The economics of a typical Vertiport will not be able to support on site Operations and Maintenance (O&M) services strategy often found at airports, instead they will need to rely on remote control and monitoring of their systems from a centralised operations room that supervises multiple Vertiports.
Along with the apparent operational similarities with the existing aviation sector, there are also close comparisons with the rail sector. Vertiports will act much like a rail network in terms of size, operation, and scheduling. Lessons can be learnt from both sectors to develop an optimal solution bespoke for vertiport needs.
Firstco have been tackling this challenge from two fronts.
Firstly, by designing scalable back-end control and monitoring systems suitable for vertiports of different sizes. These are built around commercial off the shelf technology and to be interoperable with different front of house devices such as security and passenger information systems.
Secondly, by developing a centralised Vertiport Management System that enables the remote control and monitoring of multiple vertiports from a single centralised platform.
Take a virtual tour of the Firstco Vertiport Control Room and read more information on: https://vertiports.firstco.uk.com