Passenger drones ought to profit the disabled group

Courtesy of EHang

Urban Air Mobility (UAM) could be of great benefit to the disabled community. A new whitepaper from Aerobility and CIVATAglobal states that the industry must be involved from the start in order to achieve this goal with the introduction of passenger drones.

While the concept of integrating air taxis, drone taxis, passenger drones or flying cars into municipal transport systems seemed impossible a few years ago, the concept is quickly becoming a reality. China is a leader, already using passenger drones for emergency response and tourism, and plans to implement the technology in the next few years. Europe and South Korea are close behind.

Air transport should offer many benefits to communities. UAM could reduce traffic congestion in urban areas, make regions without strong road infrastructure more accessible and help reduce pollution. Air taxis and passenger drones could also provide more transportation options for the disabled or people who may not have easy access to traditional road transport: for example, autonomous aircraft may not require visual navigation. From the whitepaper:

The new smart city transportation systems will reduce dependence on private cars, improve the quality of life for many people and create healthier and greener cities everywhere. For an important group of people, UAM and AAM [Advanced Air Mobility] offer a particularly important opportunity. Around 10% of the world’s population face major challenges when it comes to impairing mobility. And with more than half of the 7.8 billion people worldwide currently living in cities, a proportion that is growing every year, UAM is not the greatest opportunity to transform mobility options for the millions of people who struggle daily with currently inaccessible ground transportation services to have.

The opportunity to improve the lives of millions of people cannot be missed – but inclusivity needs to be built into early models and demonstrations, just as wheelchair access is an essential consideration for other transportation infrastructures, say the authors. Tools to make urban air mobility accessible to the visually impaired or wheelchair accessible must be incorporated into the original industry standards.

Aerobility and CIVITAglobal are calling for … UAM plans to involve representatives from groups of people with disabilities as early as possible. We want to incorporate accessibility best practices into the early development and DNA of the industry so that those who benefit most don’t get left behind.

Miriam McNabb is editor-in-chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a marketplace for professional drone services, and a fascinating observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has written over 3,000 articles focusing on the commercial drone space and is an international speaker and recognized figure in the industry. Miriam graduated from the University of Chicago and has over 20 years experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.
For advice or writing on the drone industry, email Miriam.

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