Author(s): Seeley, Brien A., MD.;Seeley, Damon;Rakas, Jasenka, PhD

The Velis Electro became the first type certificated crewed electric aircraft on 10 June 2020. Credits: Andrejcheck – Own work

UC Berkeley has long been known as the home of important societal movements.

In early October 2019, the electric aircraft movement came to UC Berkeley (UCB) courtesy of UCB’s Institute for Transportation Studies (ITS) and the College of Engineering. At what some have called the “Woodstock of Aviation”—the Sustainable Aviation Symposium (SAS) convened leaders of that movement from across the globe for two full days in UC’s Pauley Ballroom to explore how to solve important societal-enviro-economic issues in transportation with breakthroughs and innovations in high-tech physics, chemistry and electrical engineering.

Beyond Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics (STEAM) topics, the faculty presentations spanned a broad spectrum of UC’s graduate and undergraduate curriculum and included those by prominent UC faculty members, professors from other universities, leaders from NASA as well as several by experts in private industry.

SAS 2019 was unique among conferences in focusing on how the future driverless, emission-free sky taxis of urban air mobility (UAM) could affordably transform transportation and neighborhoods at scale in metro regions and beyond.

The socio-enviro-economic prospects for that transformation’s potential for regional mass transit by air that could ease surface gridlock, untenable infrastructure costs and climate change, showed why SAS 2019 engaged for the first time the disciplines of urban and environmental planning and civil engineering.

SAS 2019 resulted in a growing awareness of the pan-topic relevance of UAM and justified both the continuation of SAS at UC Berkeley as well as further activities of the Aviation Futures Lab at UCB.

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Source: ITSBerkeley