Uber, US Army partner up for silent electric aircraft tech

Uber’s vision from its white paper
Uber’s vision from its white paper
Author

09 May, 2018

It faces competition from other companies that are working to launch flying taxi services like Airbus, Boeing, and Kitty Hawk, which is backed by Google founder Larry Page. When Uber hired Mark Moore, a former NASA advanced aviation engineer to lead Uber Elevate engineering in early 2017, the flying taxi service crossed the line from speculation for its own sake to a still-undefined but possible future project.

Building on this rotor partnership, Uber also announced a partnership with electric propulsion company Launchpoint Technologies on modeling, design and fabrication of novel electric motors built specifically for the stacked co-rotating rotors of the eVTOL concepts.

"In fact, Uber Elevate has already started exploring the barriers we'll need to overcome to make vertical takeoff and landing a reality and bringing UberAir to Dallas and Los Angeles by 2020". Analysis of these simulations will identify safety issues as these new aircraft take to the air in an already crowded air traffic control system. The Uber air taxis will use clusters of small propellers, however, and will run on electricity rather than gas, which will make them far quieter. Uber is calling its latest renderings electric vertical take-off and landing vehicles common reference models, or eCRM.

Wired said the vehicles will cruise at speeds between 150 and 200 miles per hour at up to 2,000 feet.

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Wired said that the Uber network would use aircraft made from a variety of manufacturers. "The high placement of the wings provide shaded entry into the cabin, shielding riders from light rain as they board".

Uber is still dealing with the fallout from a deadly accident involving one of its autonomous cars, but that's not stopping the company from moving on to the next transportation innovation.

Dallas-Fort Worth and Los Angeles are the first US metropolitan areas scheduled to have the vehicles lifting off from area skyports, perhaps as early as 2020. The vehicles will feature one door on one side of the aircraft to make ground operations easier, according to Wired. Are you ready for that?

Under this first joint work statement, Uber and the Army's research lab expect to spend a combined total of $1 million in funding for this research; this funding will be divided equally between each party.


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