Operation and Regulation of Urban Mobility Technology in Arizona

With the enactment of HB 2485 during the 2021 legislative session, Arizona became the first state in the country to adopt legislation relating to the operation and regulation of urban air mobility (UAM) technology.

By creating the Urban Air Mobility Study Committee, Arizona is positioning itself to be an early beneficiary of UAM technology, which is being designed to increase the capacity, efficiency and scope of urban transportation systems. Among the transportation benefits, industry experts anticipate reduced travel time, direct routes and less roadway congestion as a result of a deployed UAM system.

Briefly, UAM is an emerging system of transportation comprising aerial vehicles, either crewed or automated, with the capability to maneuver in and across cityscapes. The innovative value of UAM is its ability to make use of the largely untapped low-altitude air space above urban landscapes. UAM technologies have applications in both passenger and freight transportation.

The firm was retained by the Urban Air Mobility Division of Hyundai Motor Group to establish a state working group to focus on the regulatory opportunities and barriers for future operations of UAMs in Arizona. The committee, as established by HB 2485, will review existing laws in Arizona that may impact the UAM industry as well as consider the opportunity to create jurisdictional consistency among all governments in order to facilitate UAM operations in the state. The committee is also charged with fostering public acceptance and awareness of UAM technology by creating a public outreach campaign to educate the general public and lawmakers on the benefits of UAM technology.

In addition to guiding the legislation through the process, the firm was responsible for introducing the issue to the Governor’s Office, Arizona Commerce Authority and major municipalities in the Greater Phoenix Area. Equally important, the firm also worked with the Arizona Legislature and the Governor’s office in the implementation of HB 2485 with respect to committee appointments and composition and serves as a resource during the committee process.

The legislation is considered by the Urban Air Mobility Division of Hyundai Motor Group to be an ideal approach to proactively introducing UAM technology to policymakers. Ultimately, this initiative is intended to yield collaboration between the industry and governmental jurisdictions in the deployment of UAMs in an operational setting. As such, the enacted Arizona legislation has been submitted to both the Council of State Governments and the American Legislative Exchange Council for their respective model legislation programs.