Flying Taxi – A Future Service Provided by Uber


In Brief

Uber Flying Taxi and Skyports by 2023, a sci-fi speed traveling and ultramodern transit structures in every city. The latest design on the whiteboard !!

In 2016, Uber Company – an American-owned transportation business network known as Uber Taxi  –  revealed its plan to develop flying cars  in collaboration with NASA, the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration, with the latter acting as its partner in the development of an air traffic management program pertaining to said flying cars while Uber plans to share its flying car ridesharing network with NASA.  The service was expected to get off the ground by 2023.  In this, service users would go through the same channel, i.e. Uber application.

Uber flying cars look forward-looking indeed with an upper main rotor resemblance to that of a helicopter together with a front rotor like an aircraft’s.  The latest model revealed at the Second Elevate Conference held in Los Angeles looks more like a drone than a helicopter with four overlapping rotors and a propelling one at the tail.  In case any of the rotors malfunctions, the rest can still work to ensure safe landing on the ground.  Electrically powered, Uber flying cars are designed to operate at the height of approx. 1,000 – 2,000 ft above the ground.  At the initial stage of service, they will be operated under the control of a pilot just like in the case of a normal aircraft.  When the stage of perfection has been reached, they will become totally automated.

Main stations of the flying cars called “Skyports” with the jutting launchpad are to be located in various cities.  At the same time, the flying cars are also capable of vertical landing on high rises’ rooftop in the city.  A skyport – to occupy a space of more than 12,000 m2 – has been designed to accommodate more than 4,000 passengers per hour and up to 200 ‘flights’ per hour and be environment-friendly in terms of both air quality and noise.  Besides, as Uber flying cars are to be electrically powered, charging the cars en route must have the least negative effect.  The skyport design will improve existing buildings to reduce project costs. There are 6 designs proposed:

  • The Pickard Chilton’s Sky Tower (bottom left) is inspired by Uber Elevate module with 12-story structures that can handle up to 180 landing and takeoffs to accommodate around 1,800 passengers every 60 minutes. Transports can be arranged in both portrait and landscape modes to facilitate skyports
  • The Humphreys & Partners’ Beehive-esque Uber Hover (bottom right) which can accommodate 900 passengers per class/hour. The design also utilizes environmentally friendly materials to protect the ecosystems to which it exists.
  • Boka Powell’s Skyport (bottom left) which can accommodate up to 1,000 landings, and because the structure of the building is designed to be flexible to wind conditions, landing takes less 3 minutes to complete.
  • The Paw by Gannett Fleming (bottom right) is designed to allow up to 52 vertically transiting flying cars per hour per module, accommodating up to 600 arrival passengers and 4,000 passengers on departure per flight by 2028.
  • The Corgan (bottom left) designed Skyport looks like a long highway that facilitates an easy renovation of existing structures and accommodate passengers at the same time.
  • The Bek Group Skyport (bottom right) is inspired by a honeycomb to accommodate up to 150 touch downs and take offs per hour with the potential to scale up to 1,000 flights per hour.

Uber isn’t the only one interested in flying cars. Many giants, including Airbus, Boeing, Kitty Hawk and even Google’s co-founder Larry Page, have committed R&D resources with intent. Flying cars may appear as a dream to many. The skyport infrastructure still needs to be built and developed in strategic locations and so does the technology to support the entire system in an automated way. Golden sasiprapa seems to be glistering at the end of the tunnel. Success tomorrow hinges on action today.

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