The Canadian Advanced Air Mobility Consortium (CAAM) is seeking additional industry and public partners as it continues to develop a national strategy for implementation of advanced air mobility technology, beginning with the greater Vancouver region.
The consortium — which includes numerous airports, helicopter and fixed-wing operators, academic institutions and aerospace manufacturers based in British Columbia — recently funded a white paper examining the benefits and a potential roadmap to bring eVTOLs, drone delivery and other new aerial technologies to the region.
“The goal for us and the consortium is to ensure we identify revenue-generating use cases and then identify a platform that can optimally perform those missions,” said JR Hammond, founding member and organizer of CAAM. “We’re really working with the experts at Helijet, at Iswew Air and the different communities around the province [of British Columbia] to see what those opportunities are before locking onto a specific platform.”
Niklas Kviselius, manager for new mobility at TransLink — regional public transportation provider for the Vancouver metropolitan area — said the organization is currently leading the development of Transport 2050, a 30-year strategy for regional transit, and will incorporate some of the learning and research from CAAM into its decision-making and resource allocation.
“One of the strongest components that we can bring to the table is we have a mature market that is willing and desirous to get sustainable, and take a look at what technologies can better their lives and communities,” said Danny Sitnam, president and CEO of Helijet, the region’s largest helicopter airline and charter service. “We want to be a part of that, and we need as many people involved as possible . . . Because we have a mature market that we’ve built over 34 years, we have the opportunity to be a bit of a petri dish in Vancouver.”
Bell, which operates a manufacturing and testing facility in Mirabel, Quebec, also announced its participation in CAAM.
In addition to identifying economically viable applications of new aerial platforms, CAAM aims to align with city- and provincial-level government goals to move toward zero-emission means of transportation and ensuring that new methods of mobility contribute to equity rather than detract from it. The consortium’s white paper on the Vancouver region recommended setting aside up to 15 percent of advanced air mobility capacity to “guarantee low- or no-cost access for the region’s most vulnerable residents.” The consortium plans to soon release the results of a “triple-bottom-line” analysis that gauges the economic, environmental and social impacts of bringing advanced air mobility to Vancouver.
CAAM will also continue to lay the groundwork for the ecosystem by engaging with the public, cities and political organizations to promote a favorable environment for potential operators, manufacturers and other players. One early-stage developer, New Jersey-based aeroG Aviation, recently announced its intent to raise $3 million to build a sub-scale model of its two-pilot, 10-passenger aG-4 VTOL aircraft and fly it in Vancouver.