Understanding urban air mobility
As drones become more cost effective, as their batteries last longer while the weights they can carry keep growing, and as autonomous capabilities also advance quickly, it is clear that cities should prepare for the new age of urban air mobility - starting with drones performing surveillance tasks, through the delivery of goods and ending with people commuting via air taxis in the future.
There are many aspects cities should look into:
Impact of urban air mobility hubs on ground mobility
What would be the implication of having an urban mini airport in a residential area? How will people get to or from the hub, to take an air-taxi or pick up a package?
Will all rooftops be eligible for package drop offs, or for drone landing and charging?
Noise and other nuisances
How many drones will we allow to fly simultaneously over the same area? At what altitude? Would the time of day matter? Will there be a difference between a noisy business center during daytime vs a quiet residential neighborhood after midnight?
Drones have cameras and even if their task is not to film, they still use it for navigation or avoiding obstacles. What happens to our privacy when drones fly above us, including private rooftops or back yards? Should we consider defining no-flight-zones to protect people's privacy?
Naturally most of the regulation around safety will be designed by the national authorities, and yet, how can cities contribute to an increased safety beyond the systems installed on the drone itself - with better data, with municipal sensors providing more reliable data to the drones, or through an urban air space management platform.