UberAIR announced Thursday that they’d be adding the University of Texas – Austin to their list of partners that will develop rotor technologies, according to TechCrunch.
The news enhances the players roster for the Uber Elevate Initiative, which aims to have functional aircraft in operation by 2023 in Dallas, Dubai, and Los Angeles. Uber has established a rigorous eCRM (common reference model) that allows for standardization in mission capability across a range of manufactured flying taxis.
Uber is requires a fully electric vertical take-off and landing vehicle that has a cruising speed of 150 to 200 miles per hour; a cruising altitude of 1,000 to 2,000 feet; and a range of up to 60 miles for a single charge.
Uber, on the other hand, is trying to build out the service in much the same way it did with car hailing so many years ago.
At the University of Texas – Austin, a research team led by Professor Jayant Sirohi, one of the country’s experts on unmanned drone technology, VTOL aircraft, and fixed- and rotary-wing elasticity, will analyze the effectiveness of a stacked rotor system that may replace a classic single rotor configuration.
This configuration is called co-rotating, as the rotors spin in the same direction while the aircraft is in flight. Preliminary studies indicate that there may be a performance benefit to selecting this configuration over a classic single rotor.
Sirohi commented on the state of eVTOL aircraft:
“There’s a lot of things to be done. We are not doing vehicles. We’re doing a specific rotor system on one of the engineering common reference models that Uber has released. The reference model is a benchmark for what the aircraft should do in field tests and eventually operations”.
“We are pursuing these technologies to see what the gaps are in where we are today and where we need to be,” Sirohi said.
Why it’s important: The news that Uber has added more partners to their already large and growing list of players in the air taxi industry is a conscious effort by Uber to “surround themselves with the best people in the room” and build out the community and following of their newest planned service in a similar manner to how the original ride-hailing function of the application was grown.
- San Francisco Chronicle