On October 1, NASA released the technical white paper “Urban Air Mobility Noise: Current Practice, Gaps and Recommendations,” a report aiming at addressing barriers to operation of within the urban environment associated with noise from Urban Air Mobility (UAM) vehicles, which are small aircraft that can accommodate up to six passengers, possibly autonomous, with a range of about 115 miles. This is the first output of NASA’s Urban Air Mobility Noise Working Group (UNWG), in which Arup is an active member.
The continued and rapid progression of UAM sets the stage to improve transportation systems across the world. There are currently over 300 vehicles in development and numerous service providers slated to bring UAM to life. But how will UAM impact the soundscape in the communities it serves and overflies?
To help address this question, the white paper provides a background of current practice, gaps, and recommendations in four areas of interest: tools and technologies; ground and flight testing; human response metrics; and regulation and policy. Alongside 125+ members of government, industry, and academia, Arup’s global aviation noise experience supported the development of the paper.
Arup’s contributions were focused on human response metrics, regulation, and policy. Arup’s experience with human response studies to fixed wing aircraft contributed to the development of strategic recommendations within the human response and metrics group. As an established leader in the simulation and demonstration of the effect of aircraft noise on communities, we also contributed to strategies for supporting frameworks for regulation and policy. The use of auralization and visualization technology — like the Arup SoundLab — provide stakeholders with a calibrated experience of how UAM vehicles will sound. In addition to UAM noise, Arup’s broad experience in aviation, integrated planning, and building design enable a multifaceted view on the impact of UAM vehicles on the urban environment.
Careful planning will be required to realize the vision of UAM. This comprehensive study sets the stage for future work in this accelerating field.