A study on the future of urban air mobility has been delivered to Helsinki’s Urban Environment Division
The report was compiled by FLOU and Robots.Expert. It forecast that urban aviation can form a EUR20 million to EUR 80 million service market in Helsinki by 2030.
“An estimated 30,000 drone flights were made in Helsinki in 2022, of which 3,000–5,000 were carried out by professionals,” said the report. “At the moment, drones are mainly flown within line of sight – in the future, operations will become more efficient when drones can operate outside of line of sight or independently.
“In Finland, Traficom and Fintraffic are primarily responsible for air traffic and the use of airspace. In Finland, cities do not own airspace in the same way as land, and national legislation does not give cities much authority in regulating the use of airspace. International regulation plays an important role in aviation, and EU legislation is largely followed in urban aviation.
“The U-space regulatory framework and services, which entered into force in January 2023, improve the operational possibilities of unmanned aviation. However, non-line-of-sight flight operations are still not easy due to the strictness of regulations and operating principles, which slows down the growth of the UAM market. Cities play a role in the coordination related to the establishment of U-space airspaces, which enables better participation in the management of the use of the city’s airspace than before.”
“It is clear that urban aviation has a really great potential to generate value and improve productivity in the city. Although we still don’t know in detail what the future will be like, based on the report, it is worth taking concrete steps right away,” said Ville Lehmuskoski, director of Helsinki’s urban environment, who received the report.
The report provides a description of the roles of the city of Helsinki as part of the urban aviation ecosystem. Three different types of roles were identified and each of them contains different measures that the city can promote. The city can act in the UAM ecosystem as a cautious user, an enabler or an active player. For example, by producing information about areas that should be avoided in terms of flight operations, such as large crowds, the city can help urban aviation operate safely and efficiently. As a minimum requirement, the city must monitor U-space development and the acceptability of urban aviation. The city itself can also use urban aviation services to an increasing extent, for example as part of maintenance.
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