The next stage of NASA’s National Campaign to support advanced air mobility (AAM) is due to get underway next year and will include new partners Reliable Robotics and Aura Network Solutions. In total, 13 companies and a university have now signed agreements to participate in the NC-1 work, which is aimed at integrating eVTOL air taxis, cargo delivery aircraft, and other new aerial vehicles into the U.S. national airspace system.
Reliable Robotics, which is working to convert a Cessna 208 Grand Caravan to operate autonomously, will join Wisk Aero and Joby Aviation as flight partners for the National Campaign demonstrations. The California-based company aims to be approved by the FAA to begin commercial cargo flights to regional airports in 2022.
NASA has named Aura Network Systems as an additional infrastructure partner for the program, alongside Raytheon, Robust Analytics, SkyGrid, and the University of Texas. The company is working on an FAA-approved communications network to support manned, optional piloted, and unmanned aircraft operations.
The selected airspace partners include Anra Technologies, Arinc, Avision, Metron Aviation, OneSky Systems, and Unmanned Experts. Earlier this month, Anra announced that it is partnering with eVTOL aircraft developer Hyundai to develop a concept of operations for airspace management.
The 14 partners have committed to participating in the first full phase of testing, which is planned to start in 2022. They were selected based on a solicitation process that began in February, and in May several local government agencies across the U.S. also signed agreements to participate. These include the Minnesota Department of Transportation, the North Central Texas Council of Governments Department of Transportation, the Ohio Unmanned Aircraft Systems Center of the Ohio Department of Transportation, and the City of Orlando in Florida.
“The National Campaign team is excited to conduct operational flight demonstrations with the first advanced air mobility integrated experimental ecosystem for the urban environment that connects airspace providers, infrastructure services, and a UAM vehicle in real-time,” said NASA’s AAM National Campaign lead Starr Ginn.