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.
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.
Distributed electric propulsion
VTOLs fundamentally rely on distributed electric propulsion, or DEP, a breakthrough technology pioneered by Mark Moore, our Director of Vehicle Engineering, during his 32 years at NASA.
Several manufacturers have demonstrated concepts that showcase ways to use DEP technology in order to optimize cruise efficiency, design simplicity, hover power, noise footprint, payload, and vehicle control.
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.
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.
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.
Source: Uber economic and demand modeling