Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Eve presents Vector Air Traffic Management tool for air taxis

Eve Air Mobility has released, at the Airspace World in Geneva, the name of its Urban Air Traffic Management (Urban ATM) software under the name of Vector. Vector will be an agnostic software solution that can safely address the unique air traffic and network management challenges of current and future Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) operations, focusing on fleet and vertiport operators and future service providers for AAM, including Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs).

The company is working towards an operational version of the software that customers can test and trial to help progress the market.

Vector will help integrate eVTOLs and other aircraft flying in low-level urban airspace from the beginning of their operations. This will provide the automation needed to enable urban air mobility (UAM) market scalability.

Eve has already garnered 14 customers, including fleet operators, vertiports, airspace, and flow management providers, for Vector. The solution will enable eVTOL operators to make their operations more efficient, vertiports will manage resource availability with all operation stakeholders involved, and ANSPs and Providers of Services (PSU) for UAM will optimize the airspace and air traffic network for all users.

“Electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft flights will become an established transportation mode for communities worldwide. Eve expects first deliveries and entry into service as soon as 2026 and has been addressing the airspace and Air Traffic Management (ATM) challenges to support the introduction and growth of the market in a harmonized and safe way. Vector will streamline AAM operations from day 1, coordinating all stakeholders involved to enhance safety, optimize performance, and maximize resource usage,” said Johann Bordais, Eve’s CEO.

In November of 2023, Eve collaborated with Flexjet to run a simulation aimed at testing and improving the capabilities of their software, Vector, in real-world scenarios. The simulation was conducted in the UK and involved 18 flights across eight different aerodromes, each exercising 26 different routes with alternative landing locations in order to test the standby flight plan functionality.

In addition, the team also tested various potential scenarios, such as delays at departure and destination with impacts on incoming flights, flight cancellations due to airspace and weather constraints, and in-flight emergencies, including alternative landing location requests.

The Eve-Flexjet simulation has identified some gaps between the current ATM systems and those required to support UAM operations from Day 1. For instance, there is a lack of integration between fleet and vertiport operator systems to coordinate eVTOL flights safely and efficiently.

In light of this, Eve is prioritizing the development of services that address these gaps. These services include integrated flight planning with airspace and vertiport resource availability, management of alternate landing locations built into the flight planning to support the endurance limitations of electric aircraft, and conformance management to inform stakeholders when flights deviate from their plan and may affect other flights.

“Flight dispatchers are responsible for nearly all aspects of an operation, which requires extensive decision-making and tracking abilities. Urban ATM services can support these activities in preparation for AAM operations through increased levels of automation and an integrated view of the relevant information tied to a specific flight. Eve has been actively incorporating features, including feedback received through user testing, into Vector to ensure the value of its services translates directly to the end users”, added Brenden Hedblom, Eve’s head of traffic management solutions.

As Vector matures, Eve continues to pursue additional opportunities to trial the solution with its customers and partners. Testing it in real-world scenarios is the best way to ensure the services provide optimal value. The company expects this year to advance towards an operational version of the software, which customers can test and trial to help advance the market and prepare the UAM ecosystem for initial operations.