Air Mobility and a Look at Infrastructure
The idea of air-mobility solutions for goods transport is appealing; over three billion gallons of fuel are wasted through traffic congestion, and people spend seven billion extra hours in their car due to them annually. These challenges are not expected to stop without technological development and have a high chance of intensifying through growing populations and rising urbanization projected to continue in the coming decades. Additionally, revolutionizing business to consumer transportation would allow companies to strategize their footprint positioning.
With that information, unsurprisingly perhaps, investing in delivery and transport drones has been undertaken by tech giants and startups. One of the major constraints for the adoption of this technology remain to be regulators. Airspace management, drone requirements, public safety concerns and infrastructure are some of the major factors contributing to that.
Several government agencies have invested in the development of air-mobility infrastructure for drone use cases and are investigating integration within air-traffic-management system. Problem remains that for many key players exists a challenge in finding the budget or space to build new surface transportation infrastructure. This raises the question on whether building new infrastructure or retrofitting existing structures to fit the needs of air-mobility should be undertaken. With the general shift and inflection point in mobility, cities will experience a shift in the use of spaces; space will have to be reallocated to make space an efficient use of capital.
Keith Knutsson of Integrale Advisors says "Some of the infrastructure expected before mass-deployment are helipads to integrate drone landings and takeoffs, storage facilities, and charging stations. Private companies and investors are exploring the required infrastructure to realize air-mobility today, yet before mass-market deployment for this type of good transport is to be expected, consumers will have to wait up to ten years."