The uberAir is the next bet Uber for the shuttle service. Like an air taxi, the project will allow users to order a flight with the same simplicity as ordering a car today. The idea is to make a standalone electric model, and the first tests will be in 2020 - with operations scheduled to begin in 2023. There are also projects designed to receive and embark passengers, in a kind of airport suitable for the service: Skyport.
Here is a little more of the news that may come in the coming years and understand how the Uber air taxi will work.
UberAIR is Uber's future air transport service. Begun in 2016 from the publication of a technical article on urban air mobility by Elevate, the project aims to make the air vehicle network accessible to ordinary people who want to avoid traffic over long distances.
The project proposes that the aircraft have a pilot on board. However, over time, the idea is to make eVTOLs - electric vehicles for flights - autonomous. The capacity must be four passengers, with space for small luggage. In addition, it must have a battery life of up to 60 miles and advanced technology to fully recharge within five minutes during peak hours.
To use the technology, the user simply needs to book the flight through the Uber app and find the aircraft at the nearest Skyport station. It is not yet known, however, what the price of the service will be.
According to Uber, the uberAIR trial period is scheduled to begin in 2020. Operations with the service may begin in 2023. Three locations are selected to participate in the project's "launch cities" phase. As of now, two are already defined i.e. Dallas and Los Angeles, both in the United States.
According to the hitchhiking app company, the average land displacement within the world's megacities is now over 90 minutes, representing "less time with family, less time working for growing economies and more money spent on fuel." To address the issue, the goal with uberAIR is to take advantage of airspace to relieve congestion, create a less polluting form of transport and help the quality of life of citizens.
Within the project, vehicles - which will not use fuels such as gasoline - must have the electric propulsion capability to fly silently. In addition, aircraft noise levels should be low enough to blend in with city sounds.
To assist in the project, Uber has partnered with NASA (the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration) and the US Army. In the first case, co-participation should create service and flight simulations considering traffic, airspace and collision hazards. With the Armed Forces group, the proposal is to test aircraft to advance research.
The company has also entered into agreements with aircraft manufacturers around the world, including Brazil's Embraer, which is responsible for commercial, executive, agricultural and military aircraft. The goal is to expand the possibility of creating eVTOLs as planned.
Other partnerships in the uberAIR project are with architecture and engineering companies, thinking of Skyports, departure and arrival stations. After internal evaluation of dozens of proposals, Uber selected six models with viable infrastructures to put the operation of the service into practice.
In addition to having to keep up with environmental requirements so as not to harm the environment and the community around the stations, the projects must take into account the rapid recharging of eVTOLs and traffic of over 4,000 passengers. According to Uber Design Director John Badalamenti, uberAIR is closer than we think, although it seems like a distant dream. For him, urban infrastructure needs to start evolving now to keep up with the news.
Among the projects selected is the "Connect", a futuristic concept model of Mega Skyport that promises to hold up to a thousand landings per hour. In addition to it, there are "Uber Hover" and "The Hive", both based on hives and the way bees use multiple entries and exit ports. Another option for uberAIR Landing Stations is the "Sky Tower", a single module that can hold up to 1,800 passengers at peak times and 180 flights per hour.
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