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AAM aircraft could play a critical lifesaving role in emergency response situations.SUPPLIED

A new era of air travel has taken off in Vancouver with the multi-stakeholder launch of a new organization aimed at accelerating the development of electric and hydrogen-powered vertical takeoff aircraft.

The Vancouver-based Canadian Advanced Air Mobility Consortium (CAAM), a group created by Canadian Air Mobility (CAM), a private-sector company, and the National Research Council of Canada (NRC), includes 18 other private-sector companies, government agencies and universities. Its sights are set on streamlining research, development and commercial operations in the Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) sector, which is globally recognized as the next frontier of commercial aviation.

AAM involves the use of zero-emission, electric or hydrogen fuel cells, and vertical takeoff aircraft to provide transportation, emergency and supply chain services for urban and rural communities. Among the many benefits of these aircraft, according to CAAM, are greater manoeuvrability, less need for ground infrastructure such as airport runways, less aircraft noise, reduced fossil fuel consumption, lower costs, shorter travel times and improved safety.

JR Hammond, founder and CEO of CAM and executive director of CAAM, says the consortium looks forward to demonstrating the economic viability, environmental benefits and social inclusivity factors of AAM and making Canada a world leader in AAM technology.

In addition to providing transportation within urban and rural areas, AAM aircraft could play a critical life-saving role in emergency response situations by enabling faster air transportation of medical supplies, blood, donor organs or patients to and from hospitals.

The Greater Vancouver Area has been identified as a promising AAM market because of its strong aviation infrastructure base, an existing scheduled helicopter service with heliports in Vancouver and Victoria and Nanaimo on Vancouver Island, a range of science and transportation research facilities, the Province of British Columbia and City of Vancouver’s commitment to the decarbonization of transportation, and the Pacific Northwest’s Cascadia corridor between Vancouver, Seattle and Portland, which is one of the busiest routes for the movement of goods and people between Canada and the United States.

Among CAAM’s objectives are to create an AAM innovation hub to help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) grow their technology from a low technology readiness level to certification and commercialization, while also expanding the AAM sector’s connections to regulators, manufacturers, aviation operators, infrastructure developers, academia, industry and governments in Canada and internationally.

CAAM believes that within the next 20 years AAM will see upwards of 4.2 million people travelling between downtown Seattle and downtown Vancouver in one hour compared to three hours currently.

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Produced by Randall Anthony Communications. The Globe’s editorial department was not involved in its creation.

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