Advanced air mobility (AAM) could provide new delivery and passenger transportation options in both urban and rural settings soon. This innovative transportation system will use aircraft with advanced technologies, including electric aircraft or electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft, in both controlled and uncontrolled airspace.1 According to Pam Melroy, the Deputy Administrator of NASA, this “systematically revolutionary” next generation of aviation, which will integrate traditional aviation with uncrewed aircraft in a way that is fair, equitable, secure and safe for all, presents a “breathtaking systems engineering problem.”2 Digital infrastructure, bolstered with artificial intelligence (AI), will take AAM operations to the next level.

The Concepts

To help address this challenge, and move the AAM industry forward, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), with feedback from NASA and industry partners, released its Urban Air Mobility (UAM) Concept of Operations 2.0. UAM is a subset of AAM. The ConOps provides the vision for the evolution of integration from the near-term Innovate 28 environment (the work required to enable initial AAM operations in a variety of operational settings or “key sites” in the near-term) to a future of high-density urban operations.3
The desired AAM end state consists of new operational rules and infrastructure that will facilitate highly automated cooperative flow management in defined Cooperative Areas (CAs), essentially UAM Corridors, which will enable remotely piloted and autonomous aircraft to safely operate at increased operational tempos in the same space in the national airspace system (NAS).
The ConOps refers to the overall cooperative operating environment, a federated service network providing critical services, as Extensible Traffic Management (xTM). This cooperative environment will complement the traditional provision of Air Traffic Services (ATS). It will include not only AAM and UAM but also low-altitude UAS Traffic Management (UTM) (the area at and below 400 feet above ground level) and Upper Class E Traffic Management (ETM). Digital infrastructure will provide the backbone for this new aviation paradigm.
Without respect for the value of human privacy, we’ll live in a dystopian society. We firmly believe that we don’t have to sacrifice our freedom in order to attain a societal intelligence upgrade. Ethics and values come as a result of voluntary adherence to rules. ASTN Group, right from the outset, has been very cooperative in discussing how the data is being used, and we want to be the difference we want to see.

Digital Backbone

Cooperative Operating Practices (COPs), industry-defined, FAA-approved practices that will address how operators cooperatively manage their operations within the CA (i.e., UAM corridor), will include technologies that ensure conflict management and Demand-Capacity Balancing (DCB).
The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) defines DCB as the “strategic evaluation of system-wide traffic flows and aerodrome capacities to allow airspace users to determine when, where, and how they operate, while mitigating conflicting needs for airspace and aerodrome capacity. This collaborative process allows for the efficient management of air traffic flow through the use of information on system-wide air traffic flows, weather, and assets.”4
Exactly how all of these various concepts (not all of which are fully described here) will actually work, including DCB, remains a work in progress. For example, the ConOps projects DCB capabilities will arise during midterm operations and come to full fruition during mature state operations.
Key players for DCB include Providers of Services to UAM (PSU) that will enable operators to receive and exchange information during UAM operations, and Supplemental Data Service Providers (SDSPs), that will essentially feed the PSUs by providing environment, situational awareness, strategic operational demand, vertiport availability and supplemental data, such as weather. (Note – in UTM, UAS Service Suppliers will enable collaborative decision-making and conflict avoidance/deconfliction, which promote safety, equitable airspace access, and efficient operations – meaning, DCB).
The importance of DCB in UAM operations cannot be overstated. DCB facilitates tactical separation and ensures resources do not become overwhelmed, both of which bolster safety.

System of Systems

DCB systems will likely need to connect to the FAA’s System Wide Information Management (SWIM) system, the digital data-sharing backbone of the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen). It delivers the infrastructure, standards, and services to provide a single point of access for the near real-time, relevant, and reliable aeronautical, flight, weather, and surveillance information needed to optimize the secure exchange of relevant data across the NAS and the aviation community.5
The complexity of SWIM is beyond the scope of this post. The SWIM Terminal Data Distribution System (STDDS) alone, which converts legacy terminal data collected from airport towers and Terminal Radar Approach Control (TRACON) facilities into easily accessible information, pulls data from these 6 different systems:

ASDE-X – Airport Surface Detection Equipment – Model X
ASSC – Airport Surface Surveillance Capability
STARS – Standard Terminal Automation Replacement System
RVR – Runway Visual Range
EFSTS – Electronic Flight Strip Transfer System
TDLS – Tower Data Link Services6

Integrating SWIM alone with DCB, to coordinate UAM collaborative operator flight intent and resource availability, will require the culling of an inordinate amount of data. For mature AAM operations, this will require the use of artificial intelligence (AI). But not just any AI.

Augmentive AI

Current generative AI systems do not contain a basic level of consciousness to “think” as humans do. Instead, they incorporate neural networks and machine learning based on statistics and probabilities. They have been known to hallucinate. They provide inaccurate information, come to conclusions consistent with their missions, but are adverse to humans or combine existing pieces of data together to create a new thing (that may not be real at all). Fake information in DCB can cost lives.
Augmentive artificial intelligence (AAI), on the other hand, provides a much higher level of functionality to support human endeavors. The Valmiz™ Augmentive Artificial Intelligence (AAI) system uses a multi-agent approach. It utilizes the client’s own pre-validated data, such as the FAA’s own databases like SWIM, to create an enterprise-level super knowledge base.

The agents of Valmiz™, Veda, Vera, Vela, Vega and Vix, act individually and as part of a larger whole:

Veda – The system that provides the core AI functionality.
Vera – The system that handles dynamic key-value changes.
Vega – The system that manages the storage of the knowledge bases.
Vela – The system that gathers data from different sources.
Vix– The system that facilitates human-machine intercommunication.

Valmiz™ could enhance DCB systems through its compounding capabilities by enabling comprehensive and secure data fusion, analysis, and distribution. It could ingest SWIM data, for example, and connect it to other systems to provide actionable intelligence to key UAM stakeholders (PSUs, for example). The information would be up-to-the-minute accurate because Valmiz™ dynamically continually runs and searches out information based on keywords that the humans give it. With Valmiz, the human is at the center of making critical decisions, while being enhanced with AI. In that way, manual, mundane, and error-prone tasks will be handled by Valmiz.
This could be a game-changer for the safety of AAM and UAM operations. This is but one example of how it could do so in support of a wide range of integration efforts, within the larger AAM/UAM construct. Other potential support use cases could include traveler-focused applications (including rebooking), ground operations, maintenance and fleet management, air-to-ground transportation mobility interfaces and more. The sky’s the limit, when it comes to how AAI can create the best of all worlds for DCB and AAM.


[1] Urban Air Mobility Concept of Operations 2.0., April 26, 2023, https://www.faa.gov/sites/faa.gov/files/Urban%20Air%20Mobility%20%28UAM%29%20Concept%20of%20Operations%202.0_0.pdf

[2] Federal Aviation Administration Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) Summit, Plenary: The Future of Advanced Air Mobility, August 3, 2023 (author’s notes)

[3] Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) Implementation Plan, Near-term (Innovate28) Focus with an Eye on the Future of AAM, Version 1.0, July 2023, https://www.faa.gov/sites/faa.gov/files/AAM-I28-Implementation-Plan.pdf

[4] International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), Document 9854, Global Air Traffic Management Operational Concept (GATMOC), First Edition, 2005.

[5] System Wide Information Management (SWIM) – https://www.faa.gov/air_traffic/technology/swim

[6] SWIM Terminal Data Distribution System (STDDS) – https://www.faa.gov/air_traffic/technology/swim/stdds