UberAir: India Among Five Countries Shortlisted Uber’s Air Mobility Concept


Uber announced its shortlist of countries that are being considered as future markets for its soon-to-be-launched “flying taxi” service. Uber Air, as the service is known, aims to launch demonstration flights in several cities in 2020 and a paid flying taxi operation by 2023. The company also said it plans to expand its experimentation with delivery drones for its Uber Eats service.

Uber launched its Elevate programme in 2016, last year the ride-sharing company announced its intention to launch flight demonstrations of UberAir in Dallas-Fort Worth/Frisco Texas and Los Angeles in 2020. At the Uber Elevate Asia-Pacific summit in Tokyo, the ride-sharing company reiterated that it was looking beyond cars to solve the problem of congestion in the fast-growing urban areas across the world.

The company says it is now officially working with regulators and city planners across the five countries, with plans to announce its third UberAir test city within six months. Uber name-checked a number of cities and regions in each country in its announcement.

Australia         : Sydney and Melbourne

Brazil               : Rio de Janeiro and the state of São Paulo

France             : Paris

India                : Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore

Japan              : Tokyo

When UberAir gets off the ground, you won’t be seeing sedans with bolted on wings. Known as eVTOL aircraft (short for electric vertical take-off and landing), these vehicles look more like futuristic hobby drones upsized for humans. Uber is currently working with partners such as Embraer and Boeing-owned Aurora Flight Sciences to develop vehicles, and the company unveiled its first design for an eVTOL concept vehicle at its second Uber Elevate conference in Los Angeles in May.

The eCRM-003, as it’s known internally at Uber, features four pairs of co-rotating rotors (a total of eight propellors) driven by electric motors to create vertical lift. The eCRM is capable of cruising speeds of 150 to 200 miles per hour (240 to 320 kilometers/hour) and can go 60 miles on a single charge. Uber also says the electric motors make for a much quieter and more efficient flight, compared to a helicopter.

Rolls-Royce, Boeing and Kitty Hawk (the Silicon Valley darling financed by Google founder Larry Page) are all working on concepts to take to the skies in the form of on-demand air taxis, high-tech rescue aircraft and even unpiloted “personal aviation” vehicles in the future.