Flight Crowd has created a UAM glossary and released its first compilation of key terms and definitions from the growing eVTOL aircraft and urban air mobility markets.

The urban air mobility community aims to bring together enthusiasts and experts to help educate and grow the wider public interest in this emerging space. Released today (Monday), the glossary will be continuously updated and improved, with everyone having the chance to contribute to this resource – either as an industry expert or an enthusiast willing to suggest new words to be added.

eVTOL Insights spoke to Flight Crowd Co-Founder Mariya Tarabanovska and Mariya Ilina, Community Outreach Coordinator, about the glossary, as well as another of Flight Crowd’s exciting projects, ‘UAM – Explore’.

Q: The UAM Glossary will surely be a great resource going forward. Are you able to tell us more about the background behind the idea please?

Mariya Tarabanovska: “Despite the UAM industry being a number of years old with most of us very much familiar with the terminology we developed, there are still occasions when professionals get confused and some messages get miscommunicated.

“What’s the difference between autonomy and automation; UAV, UAS and drone; UTM and UTC or how do you define a vertiport etc?  There are too many acronyms to keep track of and the future flight industry is constantly evolving – we keep introducing new words and give them new meanings like in the case of AAM, proposed by NASA when the stakeholders felt that term UAM excluded certain operational use cases.

“It’s difficult for us as an industry to keep up, but how about the general community; where do they even start their learning journey? We don’t wish for somebody to get overwhelmed and give up on the idea to advance their knowledge of UAM, because the current resources they could find are overwhelming both in their amount and their complexity. Hence, we see a need for the UAM Glossary to exist. A glossary that would be interesting and simple to understand, and accessed by the global community, but to also have a few interesting pieces for it to be informative even to an expert.”

“What we want for this piece to be is something that is useful for all parties, with particular attention to the end user. Moreover, we open the opportunity to contribute to our Glossary to everyone – the public will have a chance to suggest certain terms they feel need clarifying while the industry experts are welcome to improve the explanation as well as expand the range of terms we cover.

“Today, we released a first batch of 10 words, but we plan on regularly updating and expanding the Glossary.”

Q: Your STEM outreach project ‘UAM – Explore’ is also a great initiative to help introduce schoolchildren to Urban Air Mobility at a young age. Can you tell us more about the idea behind it?

Mariya Ilina: “‘UAM – Explore’ is about putting Urban Air Mobility into a realistic context for students, to help them understand that the future is coming pretty soon! This activity will not introduce UAM as some futuristic concept, but instead provide an image where all future breeds of mobility work together.

“We will show students how UAM will fit and transform our daily lives. Alongside a set of posters, the activity will also include a quiz for Key Stage 3 (11-14-year-old) students, which will allow them to explore the different career paths that they can have in this new industry. We wish to inspire them, as they are going to be the ones who will join the industry at its ‘primetime’.

“Flight Crowd is passionate about improving the public perception of Urban Air Mobility and it’s important to start with schoolchildren. We don’t want for them to have a negative perception of future flight technology due to the exposure to, for example, cinematograph portraying drones as potentially destructive and dangerous aircraft. We want young people to see the positives before they might be polluted with the negatives from other sources.

“The quiz, will showcase the possibilities of having a career in Urban Air Mobility, without necessarily having to be an engineer. We believe that you can come from different subject backgrounds with there still being a place in UAM for everyone. By closely working with the industry we want to ensure we communicate the most up-to-date and appropriate messages about industry developments, while still representing the public views and putting our audience first.

“The results page of the quiz will show some key stakeholders from different areas of UAM ecosystems, talk about their roles and what inspired them to go into future of aerial mobility. We hope to share this work in the next couple of months with our campaign covering both the schools nationwide and across the world too.”

Q: Why did you choose this particular age group and are you planning to reach out to other groups?

Mariya Tarabanovska: “We chose this age group because we felt this was sort of a middle ground for our first outreach project of this scale. Children of that age are not necessarily overly concerned or indeed certain of their future career path. And yet they are more mature than, for example, primary school students, and already begin to choose the subjects they like and form ideas regarding what they see themselves doing longer-term.” 

“By no means do we see ourselves stopping there, indeed ‘UAM – Explore’is a part of a bigger series of outreach activities and events we plan on undertaking. Flight Crowd will definitely reach out to different age groups with time. And of course, those experiences will be tailored to that specific audience.”

Q: Do you have a planned timeline of what your work could look like for the rest of the year. Depending on the easing of restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic, could you visit schools and colleges in person?

Mariya Tarabanovska: “We certainly have a timeline in mind and as soon as we’re allowed to and it is safe to move about, we’ll be doing the in-person STEM outreach. In the meantime, we are closely monitoring the situation globally and hence inventing a number of activities that could be done from the comfort of your home. It does seem to us that until the end of this academic year, we will largely be focusing on delivery of activities and events virtually.”

“Flight Crowd is working closely with a number of universities as well. We very much hope to be able to present some of the amazing work that is currently being developed in person later this year – but again, let’s not get too much ahead of ourselves! Whatever the circumstances, I am sure the world and certainly ourselves – will find a way forward!

Q: Do you have a location in particular of where you’d like to start your project first?

Mariya Tarabanovska: “We’re not trying to limit ourselves to any particular region of the country, because we see Flight Crowd undertaking different projects and delivering events and activities all over the UK as well as globally.

Alongside the projects we set ourselves, we are collaborating with our industry partners and really tapping into their database and communities they’ve built catering to their needs. We’ve already been contacted by many fantastic individuals and organisations, societies and universities which is really exciting. There are loads of projects we’re working on at the moment. Very excited to share some developments later, so stay tuned!”

Q: We’ve spoken a lot about public acceptance in the past. Do you think we’re starting to see more collaboration from within the industry and companies working together to address this?

Mariya Ilina: “We see large cross-industry collaboration announcements coming out almost on a daily basis in the last couple of months. More and more private and public entities are getting excited and are fully supportive of UAM developments – it is great to see we are generally being more open and cooperative.

“When it comes to the public perception and acceptance piece, the amount of support we received from the industry has been amazing! We’ve had lots of messages from the UAM stakeholders supporting what we do, as well as the general public saying they are excited about this future of aerial mobility.

“The industry is passionate about Urban Air Mobility. They realise the importance of public perception and how having us on board would be beneficial for all parties. Flight Crowd is about bringing together everyone and every piece of this UAM puzzle. This is not the journey to be walked alone, and we are excited to be shaping this future with our community. “

For more information about the UAM Glossary, visit the Flight Crowd website. And to learn more about the ‘UAM – Explore’ STEM project, you can contact its team by emailing outreach@flight-crowd.com

A teaser poster by Flight Crowd for its ‘UAM Explore’ project, which features Vertical Aerospace’s VA-X4 aircraft.