As any performer knows, it's important to rehearse, rehearse, and – when you think you're ready – rehearse some more. Similarly, before air taxis, cargo transport, and package-delivery drones take to the sky, airspace service providers must practice their scripts … software programming scripts, that is. And NASA has the virtual stage to do just that.
The Air Traffic Management Exploration (ATM-X) team is providing the virtual environment for third-party airspace service providers to rehearse their technology capabilities and ensure future Advanced Air Mobility vehicles or electric-powered vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) vehicles can safely integrate with existing and future air traffic. The goal of the ATM-X project is to accelerate the development of software that is robust and integrated enough to increase automation and avoid adding additional challenges for national airspace traffic controllers.
Over the next decade, NASA will work to determine how cities, airports, and overall infrastructure can support this type of passenger transport and cargo delivery.