The project looks very serious. Uber working on a project of air transport much more ambition than UberCHOPPER, its transport by helicopter service. California wants to use electric VTOL aircrafts, IE vertical take-off to carry passengers to the heart of the cities. VTOL aircraft flown, or not.
“Vertiports” Uber at the heart of the cities
The approach was to ruffle the hair of all civil engineers. Electrical transport via VTOL type devices will replace the costly road and rail infrastructure with transportation pollution and much faster with direct trajectories and so much shorter. The approach proposed by Jeff Holden and Nikhil Goel, members of Uber technology authors a good report on the issue therefore replace part of these infrastructures by the “vertiports” located on the motorways interchanges or the roofs of buildings. The Uber researchers calculated that with only 25 “vertitops”, Uber could ensure 60% of long-distance and 35% in London. If the approach may seem inadequate to transport hundreds of thousands of commuters in major cities, for Uber, such service will be a high value added service complementary to its offerings based on its future autonomous cars.
Uber has identified a dozen interesting VTOL projects for its service
Uber has identified a dozen projects of VTOL aircraft that meet the prerequisites of such a project, it is a pollutant, silent device and that can be deployed very widely, unlike the traditional helicopter. Multirotor VTOL as they are currently being investigated at Airbus, Zee.aero, the project of Larry Page, or even the unit S2 prepares Joby Aviation use many rotors, which allows to increase the security of these devices and so launch over urban areas. The report mentions the many barriers that impede the implementation of such services. The first of these remains the aviation regulations which does not allow for such services around the cities but it will also better benefit from more efficient batteries, camera manufacturers from the energy point of view, more efficient and cheaper. Finally, it will take to develop an air traffic control system able to manage hundreds or even thousands of drones over a city.
This document resembles a lot both to the specifications for the manufacturers of VTOL aircraft but also a message to the authorities so that they begin to reflect on the future of civil aviation. Uber seeks 2025 to launch its service with a pilot on board.
Source : “Fast-Forwarding to a Future of On-Demand Urban Air Transportation”, Uber Elevate, October 27, 2016