What if you could reduce your 90-plus minute commute to work to just six minutes? Uber Technologies Inc.’s new concept aircraft, made with the help of NASA scientists, hopes to do just that for future customers.
The company on Tuesday unveiled a prototype of its drone-like flying car, part of a plan to launch the world’s first air-taxi service.
The aircraft, called electrical vertical take-off and landing vehicles (or eVTOL), was designed with “a rider-first mentality,” according to Uber.
The company plans to operate “a network of small, electric, aircraft in numerous cities worldwide to enable four-person ride-sharing flights in densely populated urban markets,” with a pilot program preceding autonomous aircrafts.
Meant for four passengers at a time, the eVTOL aircraft features four sets of stacked propellers focused on takeoffs and landings to ensure “safe transition between vertical and forward flight.”
On a single charge, the aircraft would be able to fly a total 60 miles at 150-200 miles per hour. It would take five minutes to recharge.
“Urban air mobility could revolutionize the way people and cargo move in our cities and fundamentally change our lifestyle much like smart phones have,” Jaiwon Shin of NASA’s Aeronautics Research mission Directorate, said in a statement.
In addition to shorter commutes and faster service, Uber said the future service would expand route options and the development of landing and takeoff pads would be more cost effective than building roads, bridges and rail.
“We also believe that in the long-term, VTOLs will be an affordable form of daily transportation for the masses, even less expensive than owning a car,” the company said. But in the beginning, the service is likely to be very expensive.
According to Wired Magazine, Uber’s timeline shows commercial flights could be coming in just five years.
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