News

After several delays due to the government shutdown, NASA recently launched the NASA UAM Grand Challenge. The purpose of the NASA UAM Grand Challenge (GC) is to identify and address the key effectively advance UAM. NASA is hosting a series of UAM ecosystem-wide challenges to support requirements and system for scalable, commercial UAM through integrated demonstrations of realistic safety and operational scenarios.

In late 2020, there will be developmental testing to prepare for an initial Grand Challenge in 2022 involving a small set of participants, followed by the full Grand Challenge involving many more participants. The Grand Challenge itself will be a full field demonstration in an urban that tests the readiness of companies’ vehicles and airspace operators’ systems to operate during a full range of passenger transport and cargo delivery scenarios under a variety of weather and conditions.

NASA announced plans to assist airspace and vehicle partners in completing the necessary agreements later this month to participate in the 2020 initial Grand Challenge.

Analysis

More than 140 industry representatives attended the NASA UAM Grand Challenge industry briefing on November 1, 2018 and 65 responded to the Request for Information (RFI). Based on reviewing the responses, NASA recently set out the next steps in the GC.

NASA is seeking highly motivated organizations with the desire of achieving commercial operating capabilities for aircraft and airspace systems to participate in the Grand Challenges. The first of these challenges, GC-1, is planned for 2022. To prepare for GC-1, NASA is seeking a limited number of organizations to participate in the GC Developmental Testing (GC-DT) in late 2020. Both the GC-DT (2020) and GC-1 (2022) will provide participants the opportunity to demonstrate fieldable systems in a representative UAM with a focus on demonstrating the safety and integration of UAM vehicles and airspace operations management systems.

Insight

Through the NASA UAM Grand Challenge, NASA is leading the industry in developing a pathway for certification of new technologies, especially and hybrid-electric powered vehicles, enabling a safe, efficient, convenient, affordable, and accessible air transport system for passengers and cargo.

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