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Urban Air Mobility + Artificial Intelligence

The sum is greater than its parts

Illustration of a person holding a globe labeled AI.
AI can take UAM to new heights in safety and efficiency in maintenance costs.(AI image courtesy of and copyright Freepik)

Take a minute to watch the opening scene from the 1952 Superman TV series. Writing in Cyient, Ajay Lohany, formerly with the Indian Air Force, outlines how those superhuman abilities Superman possessed (“faster than a speeding bullet,” “more powerful than a locomotive”) can align to improve aviation as urban air mobility (UAM) and artificial intelligence (AI) join forces.

Lohany posits that UAM and AI can significantly improve maintenance protocols if you:

  • Use AI for predictive maintenance, analyzing sensor data and onboard source to predict when maintenance will be necessary. The result is decreased downtime and increased aircraft availability
  • Use AI-enabled maintenance inspections: Using AI to analyze images of eVTOLs and UAVs can help maintenance teams rapidly identify issues, mitigating errors and oversights.
  • Use AI to make better decisions for eVTOLs and UAVs: AI can help more quickly and thoroughly analyze the many considerations needed for effective aircraft maintenance support. The result is likely better decisions by the maintenance team.
  • Let the robot do it: Armed with AI algorithms, robotic systems can repair or replace minor parts, increasing safety and mitigating risk to maintenance team members.
  • Better diagnostics, more targeted troubleshooting: AI offers the promise of more quickly identifying operational issues and suggesting repair options.
  • Proactive maintenance, data integration, improved safety: AI in UAM promises the ability to proactively maintain aircraft, better integrate the ever-increasing data being generated, and more safely operate your aircraft from takeoff to landing.

The bottom line: The application of artificial intelligence to aircraft maintenance – whether for crewed or uncrewed aircraft – promises to keep more aircraft flying, more safely, and at lower costs.

For those who worry about AI replacing them at work, the answer is this: Keep up with technology and continue to advance your skill-set to keep your job. You will open doors to more opportunities and higher compensation.

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Dave Clarke

Dave Clarke is a California-based writer who is fascinated by the way technology changes our lives.