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Fast forwarding to the future of on-demand, urban aviation

The vision

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.

VTOL aircraft

We believe that aerial ridesharing will enable rapid, reliable transportation through a network of small electric VTOLs (eVTOLs) that can take off and land vertically. Unlike helicopters, eVTOLs are all-electric. We’re developing vehicles with a focus on safety, minimizing noise, and energy efficiency. Read more about our technology in the Uber Elevate Whitepaper.

Uber Elevate Whitepaper

Uber Elevate began with a single question: Can we take Uber to the air? We conducted a first-principles analysis, examining the challenge of flying people in and around cities—and our answer was yes. The Uber Elevate Whitepaper lays out a number of key barriers to launch, from affordability to air traffic control, and, more importantly, the approach we’re taking with our partners and the industry to remove these barriers.

Hub-to-hub mobility

VTOLs don’t need to follow one-dimensional routes. Trains, buses, and cars move people from point A to point B along a limited number of ground-based routes, where a single interruption such as an accident or roadwork can cause a delay. VTOLs, by contrast, can travel toward their destination independent of any specific path, complementing existing ground networks in cities.

Skyport infrastructure

Our team believes that developing a network of Skyports to support an urban VTOL network would be more cost- and space-efficient than infrastructure-heavy and capital-intensive approaches such as roads, rails, bridges, and tunnels. Our designs make use of repurposed decks of parking garages, existing helipads, and even unused land surrounding highway interchanges that will together create the basis of an extensive, distributed network of Skyports.

Source: Uber economic and demand modeling

Data-powered networks

Today, our app provides dynamic insights about traffic and mobility patterns in cities where we operate. By using this data, we can carefully model demand and work with cities, existing mobility and transit operators, and real estate developers to make informed decisions about where Skyports should be placed in cities. The data will also help us better understand the demand for this new type of transportation.

Facts and figures

Uber is expanding its rider options to help create the future of transportation, one that reduces individual car ownership, expands access to public transit, and helps governments plan future transportation investments

Uber has a goal of beginning demonstrator flights in 2020 and making limited commercial flights available to riders in 2023

The first US Uber Air launch cities will be Dallas–Fort Worth, TX, Los Angeles, CA and Melbourne, Australia

Elevate is the name of Uber’s internal team and initiative focused on launching the Uber Air product. The Elevate initiative includes airspace management, battery development, infrastructure to support a distributed network of Skyports, operations, partnerships, and vehicle design

Uber Air is the aviation product that will make it possible for people to tap a button and request a flight from the Uber app

Skyports are locations where riders can catch Uber Air Flights

eVTOL (electric vertical takeoff and landing) vehicles are the technical name for the flying craft designed for Uber Air ridesharing

eCRM (eVTOL common reference model) is the design that the Elevate team is sharing with the industry to embrace state-of-the-art development of eVTOL vehicles

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