Uber welcomes eVTOL aircraft developers to partner in its Uber Air ride-share air-taxi service.
The company has already selected six partners, but at this week’s Global Urban Air Summit (GUAS) at Farnborough International, Uber said more could be added. According to Uber’s Advanced Technology Research Center Director, François Sillion, “we don’t think any one company will win and there could be more than one aircraft on our platform.” The companies that currently have working partnerships with Uber include Boeing subsidiary Aurora Flight Sciences, Bell, EmbraerX, Karem Aircraft, Pipistrel Vertical Solutions, and Jaunt Air Mobility, and they all have a shared goal – to develop a feasibly integrable aircraft for Uber’s air taxi service, predicted to launch in 2023. According to a press release from Aviation International News, another U.S. based eVTOL manufacturer plans to sign an agreement with Uber, thereby expanding the list of partners.
In addition to the previously announced launch cities, Sillion explained that Uber is actively planning to launch services in U.S. cities including Los Angeles, Denver, Las Vegas, Phoenix, San Francisco, Dallas, and New York. Dallas may be a frontrunner due to city council members recently approving an economic incentive package which includes $746,000 from a tax abatement over a five year period and up to $8.6M in economic grants. Though, “this won’t be mass transportation, but it won’t just be for the rich either,” Sillion explained at the Global Urban Air Summit. “There will be thousands of flights carrying around 10,000 people each day in the urban areas we will serve.”
In discussion with city governments, Uber is also developing networks of “Skylines” to help determine which route is optimum at any given time for a specific flight, based on factors such as air traffic density, terrain and “community acceptance” issues, such as noise. This new technology will be integrated with the company’s future “SkyPorts” which are not just landing pads for eVTOLs, but are designed to enable seamless transportation in major cities. As such, each SkyPort is connected with public transit, has parking and charging for Uber Jump bikes & scooters, and has areas for easily connecting with Uber cars (one day to be autonomous).
Why it’s important: The Global Urban Air Summit provided a stage for Uber and over 100 other eVTOL industry players to create and unveil new partnerships over the two-day conference from September 3rd-4th. The technological and logistical progress Uber continues to make in the development of its air-taxi service is demonstrative of overall UAM industry success as it increases total market share by adding partners.
Sources // Uber; Aviation International News