Imagine being able to bypass traffic congestion and skip over your commute by air. This is exactly the vision of ridesharing master Uber as they move forward planning a network of air transportation options. Along with its partners, Uber has a comprehensive plan to launch aerial ridesharing by 2023. Here’s everything you need to know about the new Uber flying taxi service everyone is talking about. Uber Air is coming to a city near you soon!
Why Uber Air?
Uber revolutionized the taxi industry years ago and now they are also looking to provide innovation in transportation.
Uber was founded with a simple vision: tap a button, get a ride. We’ve since evolved into a transportation network that helps you get from point A to point B by car, bike, scooter, and public transit—and, in the not-so-distant future, flights. Uber Air is our most ambitious vision for that future. Just as skyscrapers allowed cities to use limited land more efficiently, Uber Air would take to the sky to alleviate congestion on the ground and enable riders to tap a button for a shared flight.
Partner Bell Helicopters revealed one of Uber’s concept aircraft at Las Vegas’s Consumer Electronics Show in January. Bell is just one of the aircraft partners Uber is working with to develop their plan for the Uber flying taxi. Uber is working toward giving riders the option to take shared VTOL (vertical takeoff and landing) aircraft as one leg of their journey, effortlessly riding between conveniently located Skyports, from ground to air to ground. The Uber Elevate Network includes 5 of the world’s most innovative aircraft manufacturers. They are each developing concepts for electric VTOL aircraft, built specifically for aerial ridesharing.
Initial plans call for launching the Uber service in the US in Los Angeles and also Dallas. An additional international location is in the works also, with frontrunners being in Australia, Brazil, France, India, and also Japan. In these cities, Uber may be able to cut commutes from outlying suburbs from 100 to just 15 minutes.
Uber’s Elevate team is developing an urban aviation ridesharing product called Uber Air. Starting in 2023, Uber customers will be able to push a button and get a flight on-demand with Uber Air in Dallas, Los Angeles, and a new international market. Over the next few years, Uber will be continue to work closely with city and country stakeholders to ensure that we create an urban aviation rideshare network that is safe, quiet, environmentally conscious and supports multi-modal transportation options. Importantly, we are not looking for cities to provide tax breaks or local incentives. Rather, we are looking for cities with aspirational vision who are investing in their transportation systems and wish to bring Uber Air to market for their residents as quickly as possible. These cities will be the first to offer Uber Air flights with the goal to begin demonstrator flights in 2020 and commercial operations in 2023.
Uber is also designing a series of Uber Skyports that will accommodate the Uber flying taxi. The design of these unique Skyports will be most noteworthy because of the challenges they face.
A network of distributed Skyports is being planned to enable Uber Air operations. At scale, Skyports require all-new designs to handle an unprecedented number of takeoffs and landings. The top names in architecture, design, and engineering are devising solutions capable of handling up to 1,000 landings per hour, even within footprints as dense as an acre or 2. The concept of the Uber flying taxi service truly brings the future to the present. Finally, there will be an answer to the unprecedented traffic congestion in the world’s largest cities.