Will Law Lift or Ground a New Era of Human Transportation?

A new era of human mobility is on the horizon as investment pours into transformative airborne technologies referred to as advanced air mobility (AAM)—the local, on-demand movement of people and goods by air using autonomous or uncrewed electric aircraft that take off and land vertically (eVTOL). “Flying taxis” and the concept of aerial ridesharing at traditional taxi prices portend a reduction in congestion and a radically improved urban mobility experience relative to heavy-infrastructure approaches such as roads, rails, bridges, and tunnels.

This conference seeks to generate new knowledge and identify further areas of inquiry with respect to the significance and feasibility of AAM. Its goal is to provide traction on challenging questions relating to an ongoing revolution in mobility by gathering perspectives from across disciplines about how to (re)calibrate the legal-regulatory framework for civil air transport alongside extraordinary breakthroughs in aeronautical engineering. This conference will explore both “above the ground” issues, including an evaluation of known and anticipated legal and technical challenges in enabling the safe, secure, and efficient operation of an increasingly complex airspace and it will examine “on the ground” concerns including safety and security, governance challenges, the environment, and community impact.

Equitable and ethical considerations will permeate the conference as panelists will assess whether the central imagined benefit of AAM—inexpensive, green, on-demand aerial mobility—is inclusive and accessible across all social demographics. Relatedly, whereas women and individuals from underrepresented groups have had limited opportunities to participate in the development of transformative innovations in aviation, law, and science historically. This project is intentional about featuring new voices from the broadest demographic continuum so as to effect the core aspiration of AAM as an equalizer of access.

By exploring the intersection of legal and technological innovation in a new era of aviation, the reach of this conference will extend beyond aviation as the findings it disseminates could benefit other scholarship at the intersection of science and law that seeks to understand how new technology disrupts legal equilibria, renders existing laws obsolete, and/or requires the creation of new rules and frameworks to account for pioneering inventions.

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Sponsored by: National Science Foundation (NSF) Division of Law & Science, Award Abstract # 2232225. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the project team and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation

White Paper, Conference Materials and Acknowledgements

If you would like to contribute writing or images to the white paper, please contact us at locampbell@ucf.edu.

Our Team

Timothy Ravich

Timothy Ravich

Principal Investigator
Sarah B. Bush

Sarah B. Bush

Co-Principal Investigator
Laurie O. Campbell

Laurie O. Campbell

Co-Principal Investigator
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