Uber’s flying cars get a boost from government assistance

Uber’s flying cars get a boost from government assistance


Uber’s concept
employed small, fixed-wing planes called VTOLs (Vertical Take-off and Landing). The white paper suggested future possibilities. When Uber hired Mark Moore, a former NASA
advanced aviation engineer to head up 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. In late 2017 Uber Elevate released a teaser
video for UberAir, stating at the time, “The reality of urban air transportation is closer
than you think. In fact, Uber Elevate has already started
exploring the barriers we’ll need to overcome to make vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL)
a reality and bringing uberAIR to Dallas and Los Angeles by 2020.” Today Uber released more details about UberAir
at Elevate Summit 2018. Uber’s Elevate Summit 2018 in Los Angeles
today, the second annual convergence of “the foremost on-demand aviation leaders in industry,
government, and academia” began today. The only specific government involvement announced
so far is an agreement with NASA to investigate air traffic control issues. The study would focus on the Dallas area but
did not specify whether it would employ real light aircraft or use simulations. Uber Elevate released new concept images of
its future flying taxis. Uber refers to the images as “electric vertical
take-off and landing vehicles common reference models, or eCRM,” according to Fortune. An Uber statement stressed safety, comfort,
convenience, and efficiency in the eCRM design and operational system. Flying speed will be between 150 miles per
hour and 200 miles per hour while flying from 1,000 to 2,000 feet above the ground. The aircraft’s electric batteries will be
good for up to 60 miles, but Uber said recharging till take just five minutes, Fortune reported. Uber had a lot to say about passenger and
pedestrian safety in a statement issued on Tuesday, the day before Elevate Summit 2018
began. “The eCRM design is pedestrian friendly,
as the propeller blades are as high as possible, leaving ample room for individuals to board
and de-plane without having to duck,” Uber’s statement read, according to Fortune. “The high placement of the wings provide
shaded entry into the cabin, shielding riders from light rain as they board. Finally, point of entry into the eCRMs is
limited to one side, simplifying ground crew operations and reducing confusion for riders
when they approach their eVTOL vehicle.” Putting a date on the plans, Uber said Dallas,
Dubai, and Los Angeles would all have uberAIR flying vehicles overhead by 2020. Initial flights will have human pilots, but
Uber Elevate’s grand plan envisions pilotless light planes winging passengers from pickup
to destination. Are you ready
for that?

Eugene Islam

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