The definition of the most common UAM terms

This is a glossary of UAM terms explained in an approachable to citizens and non-experts language free of complicated terminology. The development of the UAM glossary is an ongoing effort of Future Needs. As we are involved in a variety of UAM research project and enriches the glossary in cooperation with our partners as the projects progress. We also run a campaign on social media using the hashtag #UAMExplained.

Advanced Air Mobility (AAM): Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) expands the Urban Air Mobility (UAM) concept to rural areas and also incorporates intraregional UAM services.

Aeronautical Information Management (AIM): A portal that allows pilots, airline operators and other Aeronautical Information Services (AIS) users to access the latest flight information as well as submit e-flight plans.

Air Taxi: Manned Vertical Take-Off and Landing Aircraft carrying humans along short routes, which are not serviced by conventional civil aviation operators.

Air Traffic Control (ATC): A service provided by personnel trained and certified by relevant aviation authorities responsible for monitoring and controlling all air traffic within a specific area, such as EASA, FAA and others.

Air Traffic Management (ATM): The necessary toolkit of airborne and ground-based functions (air traffic services, airspace management and air traffic flow management) required to ensure the safe, secure and efficient movement of aircrafts during all phases of operation.

Autonomous Aerial Vehicle (AAV): Aircraft designed to operate autonomously, predominantly without a human involved in the mission control. It is close, by definition, to the Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), and not all UAVs are AAVs, since some UAVs require a remote operator or pilot.

Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS): Sometimes also called BLOS. This is where the flying of a drone is without a pilot maintaining visual line of sight on the aircraft at all times.

Concept of Operations (in Urban Air Mobility) [ConOps (UAM)]: A definition of operations, operational environments and applicable legislative and/or regulative framework documents, in the context of Urban Air Mobility operations.

Drone: Aircraft (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV)) or vehicle (e.g. underwater drones) designed to operate autonomously (pre-programmed, without a human in control) or remotely (pilot controls the drone on the ground). Also called Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) or Unmanned Aircraft (UA) when referring to drone aircrafts.

European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA): Agency of the European Union responsible for designing the civil aviation safety framework.

Electric Vertical Take-Off and Landing (eVTOL): Type of aircraft that uses electrical propulsion to takeoff, hover, and land vertically.

Geofencing: Technology that uses global positioning system (GPS & GLONASS) to establish a virtual geographic boundary to prevent drones from flying into specific area.

Geographic Information System (GIS) Tool: Computer-based tools that allow the user to store and edit spatial and non-spatial data, analyze spatial information output, and visually share the results of these operations by presenting them as maps.

Heliports: Landing site or airport designed to support take-off and landing operations, including taxiing and parking for (electric) Take-Off and Landing ((e)VTOL) aircrafts, Autonomous Aerial Vehicles (AAV), helicopters and other small aircrafts.

Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU): An electronic device that uses accelerometers, gyroscopes, and sometimes magnetometers to measure and report specific force, angular rate, and magnetic field of the drone in flight.

Metropolitan area: Populated region with a high-density core (city) and lower density peripheral region (suburbs, rural areas).

Public-Private Partnership (PPP): Cooperative arrangement and/or undertaking between two and/or more public and private stakeholder organisations, aiming long term collaboration for the sake of both public and private interests.

Regional Air Mobility (RAM): Using existing small airports to transport people in small aircraft over distances of up to 300 kilometers.

Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA): Refers to a high-level Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) operated from a remote pilot station. Its pilot is required to have a significant amount of training compared to pilots of UAV models mostly used for recreational flights, who require minimal or no training at all for their operation.

Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS): Consists of the Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) and all the necessary components for its operation, including its hardware, software, control links and the associated remote pilot station(s).

Joint European ATM Research Joint Undertaking (SESAR JU): A platform for all initiatives and projects of the EU towards the integration of integrating innovative ATM and UTM solutions, as well as U-Space, towards a large-scale and international PPP in the relevant multidisciplinary thematic field.

Smart Cities: Cities in which current networks and services improve their efficiency with digital, information and communication technologies. This includes smarter mobility and transport networks, a more efficient energy distribution, upgraded water supply and waste disposal facilities to reduce emission and improve quality of life of their inhabitants and businesses.

Strategic Deconfliction: The implementation of a strategy before flight operations in order to avoid conflicts between different airspace users.

Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans (SUMPs): Strategic plan designed to improve quality of life in cities by satisfying mobility needs of their inhabitants, businesses and their environment through the implementation of sustainable mobility and transport solutions.

System-Wide Information Management (SWIM): Consists of standards, infrastructure and governance enabling the management of information related to Air Traffic Management (ATM) and its exchange between qualified parties via interoperable services.

Tactical Deconfliction: The process of resolving conflicts occurring during flight by giving instructions to change the course, speed, or height of the flight, in order to avoid collisions.

TFR (Temporary Flight Restriction): A temporary notice of restriction on a specific area of airspace because of the presence of government VIPs, special events, natural disasters, and other unusual occurrences.

Transportation planning: Process of defining and managing various issues related to the establishment and development of transportation systems of cities, countries and regions.

Urban Air Mobility (UAM): Extension of transportation systems in metropolitan areas in the third dimension – air. UAM includes air traffic with and without humans onboard, and includes operations inside cities, and between suburbs and cities.

Urban Air Mobility (UAM) Ecosystem: The entire range of stakeholders relevant for the successful planning, integration, and operation of UAM at a particular location and/or region.

UAM integration: Managed framework for the organisational, infrastructural, regulatory, and economic integration of the Urban Air Mobility operations without degrading safety, security, or disrupting current airspace operations.

UAM Zoning: Decision making process aiming the 3D urban space use definition for particular area and/or region in the planning process.

UAM operation security: The invulnerability level of aircraft ecosystem, and respectively of the society.

Urban Air Mobility (UAM) Operator: Commercial stakeholder responsible for the practical operation of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) and Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS).

Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV): An aircraft without any human pilot, crew or passengers on board. It could be piloted by an autonomous system (like a robot) or a ground-based human pilot. A common term for UAVs is “drone”, although not all drones are UAVs, because drones are not only aerial, they can be aquatic or ground “robots” too.

Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS): UAV and in addition to it the necessary operation infrastructure and control units on ground and air, such as data transmission infrastructure and other operation support systems and/or elements.

Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Original Equipment Manufacturer (UAV OEM): Legal and/or physical person, providing overall UAV solutions to the market. An OEM has a close collaboration with suppliers for the successful platform and payload integration demands the easy exchange of successful prediction while mitigating mutual intellectual property and data security concerns.

Unmanned aircraft systems Traffic Management (UTM): An air traffic management ecosystem that controls the flight paths and operations of aerial drones and potentially air taxis. UTM is separate from, but complementary to, the Air Traffic Management (ATM) system, which is used for air traffic management aircraft with pilots onboard.

UAS geographical zone: A portion of airspace that facilitates, restricts or excludes drone operations in order to address risks pertaining to safety, privacy, protection of personal data, security or the environment, arising from UAS operations.

Urban development: The construction on land of improvements for residential, institutional, commercial, industrial, transportation, public flood control, and recreational and similar uses, in contrast to use of the land for growing crops, truck gardening, grazing of farm animals, and other agricultural pursuits.

Urban planning: Technical and political process focused on the spatial, construction, infrastructural and functional design and development process management in organised inhabited spatial units and/or areas.

U-space: A set of new services relying on a high level of digitalisation and automation of functions and specific procedures designed to support safe, efficient and secure access to airspace for large numbers of drones.

U-space service providers (USSP): U-space service providers support the safe and efficient operation of drones and safe access to airspace. These organisations must be certified to provide U-space services in one or more European member states.

Vertiports: Landing site or airport designed specifically to support (electric) Vertical Take-Off and Landing ((e)VTOL) operations, including taxiing and parking.

Very Large-Scale Demonstration (VLD): Projects bridging the gap between Research & Innovation and implementation. VLDs use early versions of end-user systems and integrate these new technology elements into existing systems in order to test it in live conditions. Key stakeholders participation is essential to define the VLDs’ goals and secure their commitment to operational rollout.

Very Low Level (VLL): Airspace below 150 metres (500 feet) above ground level used by aircrafts such as Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), medical helicopters, police and military aircrafts. VLL has not yet been integrated into the global airspace classification.

VTOL TOLA: Take-Off and Landing Area: Suitable On- and Off-airfield take-off and landing site for VTOL aircrafts.

VTOL UAV: Vertical Take-Off and Landing UAV: UAV able to take off, hover and land vertically.

The terms’ definitions are constantly reviewed and updated. Feel free to contact us for your comments regarding this glossary. 
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