Urban Air Mobility (UAM) Vehicle Design Considerations to Facilitate Future Accident Investigation

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The introduction of Urban Air Mobility (UAM) vehicles will initiate many new and unique challenges to the current operational airspace environment. Many of these challenges are researched today, and solutions are investigated. The main goal of this ongoing research is to develop a safe and sustainable UAMsystem looking at the design of vehicles and airspace. However, despite research and testing, it is conceivable that when the UAMvehicles actually become operational, accidents will occur. Here in lies the problem; are accident investigators ready for UAM vehicle accidents? Historically, aviation accident investigations had been reactive and investigation outcomes provided recommendations, which paved the way for incremental safety improvements. Rules and procedures are in place to provide a feedback loop to lower the accident rate and maintain a safe aviation environment in its current form. To establish a UAM safety level, the installation and implementation of technical aids and procedures to assist investigators in future UAM accidents are required. These requirements need to be addressed before implementing a new UAM system in order to provide the required feedback loop to maintain an acceptable level of safety. This paper will address the challenges that future accident investigators will face in a UAM vehicle accident investigation. This paper provides feedback from accident investigation professionals who participated in a prognostic survey to discuss what technical means are required to investigate UAM vehicle accidents. It will provide recommendations to future UAMsystems designers to address and enable accident investigation in order to maintain and enhance the future UAM safety level. The final goal of this paper is to discover potential UAM accident scenarios which may not be immediately apparent to engineers during conceptual design and identify potential design requirements in terms of investigation capability.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAIAA AVIATION Forum, 17-21 June 2019, Dallas, Texas
PublisherAmerican Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Inc. (AIAA)
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-62410-589-0
Publication statusPublished - 2019
EventAIAA Aviation 2019 Forum - Dallas, United States
Duration: 17 Jun 201921 Jun 2019


ConferenceAIAA Aviation 2019 Forum
CountryUnited States
Internet address

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