On 23 May 2023, the Flying Forward 2020 consortium partners met in Lisboa Story Centre, to present the project results to date with an advisory board of Urban Air Mobility (UAM) experts and stakeholders that was assembled for the occasion. The advisory board consisted of Sandrine Suter of Netherlands Aerospace Centre (NLR), Marjon van Dinther of the Dutch Portuguese Chamber of Commerce, Mikael Shamim and Geert Vanhandenhove of Helicus and the SAFIR-Med project, Valter Ferreira of the Lisbon City Council, and Bart Brouwer of Innovation Origins.
It was a great opportunity to physically meet again with all the project partners, to learn about the latest developments and results, and to hear the reflections from the board members. Public acceptance remains an important point of attention, as it is with many innovative developments. It was reconfirming to realise that the demonstrators by each of the FF2020 Living Labs can generally count on public support, as they focus on experiments related medical emergency services, the search for missing persons, public safety through crowd monitoring, and the maintenance and safety inspection of physical infrastructure, such as roads and buildings.
The importance of developing an ecosystem for the future development of Urban Air Mobility has also been stressed. The inclusion of startups, local government, technical experts and stakeholders, in the preparation of the Living Labs demonstrators and the required infrastructure and instruments, also helps lay the foundation for UAM also beyond the scope of the FF2020 project itself. Many of the project partners are already working towards a greater future availability of accessible test hubs, where cities, research institutes, technology providers and other interested partners can become acquainted with the possibilities and challenges of Urban Air Mobility. It is important to also continue to organise the alignment of UAM innovations with European regulatory developments, so that investments can be done in anticipation of upcoming legislation and related specifications.
We’ve reached the stage of the project where many tracks are moving towards finalisation, so we’ve had the opportunity to align our efforts. We foresee that many of the lessons learned, methodologies and instruments that result from the project, can contribute to the further development and maturity of the UAM ecosystem in Europe.