What does AAM require to be successful in Canada?

Nishant Gadihoke

April 7, 2021

When I was a kid watching star wars, so many vehicles seemed to be flying. While we’re not quite there yet, we’re closer than you might think!

Flying vehicles always seem to be part of futuristic movies. Today, there are some hurdles to overcome, but they’re closer than you might think to becoming a reality. 

Advanced Air Mobility is globally recognized as the next frontier of aviation, encompassing the aerial movement of people, goods and services within urban and regional settings using zero emissions . CAAM works as the catalyst between governments, researchers and industry to get this new mode of transportation off the ground safely, sustainably, and equitably. CAAM helps to facilitate how cities and rural areas can utilize their airspace to support the needs of the people on the ground. We’re lucky to work with organizations, governments and research organizations big and small trying to understand what problems need to be solved before this technology can really be of use, and so far a few trends have emerged.

Managing the Hype with Research

It’s easy to get excited about the potential for the technology we’re creating. Whenever we talk about what we’re doing with people outside of our industry, people are excited about how this technology could help them or someone they know. While Advanced Air Mobility is an exciting field that we’re convinced will make the world a better place, we of course know that it can’t by itself solve all of our problems, nor is there a strong business case for all of the use cases proposed yet. While the public may be understandably excited, those within the industry must be careful to lead with research instead of flashy copywriting that grabs headlines. We’re actively working with several research institutions to identify the most pressing concerns facing this technology, as well as developing white papers for each city we launch in to understand the best path forward for this technology. All of our own completed research, as well as relevant research from other organizations, can be found in our resources section here. All of our future completed research will be shared via email to our engaged supporters (sign up here), and will also be posted in our resources section. In order for AAM to be successful, organizations must be cautious about how far they reach beyond the data and use research to ground their marketing and business strategy.

Collaboration with boundaries is the new competition

The pie of opportunity we’re all trying to bake together is far from ready to eat. We’ve got a sense of some of the ingredients, but in order to get something good in the oven we’re going to need collaboration from a lot of different cooks in order to get something tasty for the community we’re serving. We need cooks that specialize in all manner of tasks to offer their input, because the risk of food poisoning is too great a risk for everyone in the industry to leave up to chance. 

If you’re still following this metaphor, it’s all to say that we need to put public safety above everything in order to get the AAM industry off the ground. Non-disclosure agreements will help protect intellectual property, though they will slow our progress towards creating a truly safe industry by limiting our understanding of the gaps in knowledge not just to what we don’t know, but also for what we don’t say. 

We understand that there is an incredibly high price for research and development, especially in an industry with so few concrete data points. If you’re part of the industry creating solutions for this new market, this may be all you have to show to your investors until customers show up at your door. At CAAM, we need each of the organizations we work with to decide for themselves where their lines must be drawn to ensure their IP is protected while supporting industry growth as much as possible. We need everyone to lean in to the problems we’re all facing with everything they can give without compromising their unique selling proposition. 

Technologies need to date each other

There are thousands of companies with incredible technology offerings ready to make this industry come to life. From UTM software that plots the traffic routing within three dimensional space, to vertiports that will allow these flying vehicles to pick up and drop off passengers in downtown centres, companies are finding beautiful solutions to part of the puzzle. What appears to be lacking at the moment is the opportunity to have these technologies try working together on projects that have a relevant business use case attached to them instead of a manufactured testing area. At CAAM, the foundation of the projects we are developing to get this industry off the ground in Canada are based in tangible use cases with a defined end user.

Manufacturers need to pivot, slightly

We have some of the worlds most skilled aerospace and automotive manufacturers here in Canada, making world class composite materials at high and low volumes. All of the ingredients for a strong supply chain to feed this industry are waiting right at our fingertips. 

Regulatory Bodies, need to, well, regulate

Our regulators are critical to the success of AAM. Effective regulation helps to ensure safety and standardization across the industry. We’re proud to have NAV Canada and Transport Canada observing each of the steps we take as we navigate this process of bringing a safe transport solution to people like you. One of the focusses of CAAM is developing a near term, revenue generating use case that will allow for solid data to develop a traffic management framework and regulation/policies to support growth of AAM. Without the generous collaboration of our experienced regulatory bodies here in Canada, we’re going to be slow in bringing this new industry safely to a transport hub near you.

Success isn’t only this, but it’s a start

All in all, in order for AAM to be successful in Canada, the strategic partners would have to  help with collaborating with one another and sharing the news. The more Voting members* we have on board, the easier the collaboration process will be. At the same time, technology advancement and manufacturing go hand in hand in making this idea possible, as they are the science and the practical aspect behind AAM. Then finally,  with no investment and regulatory bodies, the project won’t move forward. AAM relies on all of these factors and more for the success and taking off in Canada. 

Have other ideas about what AAM will require to get off the ground? Our open house events are a great place to engage with the AAM community and bring new ideas to the challenges and opportunities of this new industry.

Getting Involved

Feeling excited to get involved in this new industry and help us grow? 

If you’re an organization that wants to be a part of this success, we’re currently accepting applications for voting members in all Canadian regions, please contact us if you are interested in joining as a member!

If you’re an individual who is excited about contributing, please click here to sign up to our mailing list as an individual and stay updated about the conversation. We’d welcome your input – just reply to our emails! We’re excited to build an entire engagement strategy for individuals in the second half of 2021, and will reach out to all interested individuals on our mailing list when we have a better sense of how individuals might best contribute to getting AAM off the ground in Canada.