Are unmanned flying taxis a far future thing? The Uber view
Are drone taxis part of an undefined era - a farfetched future? Or is this technology closer than we think? We did some investigation and had a deep dive into the research Uber has been doing on this topic.
Flying taxis with trained pilots are the first solid base for a potentially efficient and safe place for on-demand urban autonomous aerial transport. Uber, being the initiator of Annual Uber Elevate Summit with its second edition on 8-9 May in Los Angeles, California, has a clear vision on this matter at hand.
“On-demand aviation, has the potential to radically improve urban mobility, giving people back time lost in their daily commutes,” Uber says. “We are close to the commute pain that citizens in cities around the world feel. Just as skyscrapers allowed cities to use limited land more efficiently, urban air transportation will use three-dimensional airspace to alleviate transportation congestion on the ground.”
Uber continues: “Ultimately, if VTOLs (Vertical Take-off and Landing aircrafts) can serve the on-demand urban transit case well—quiet, fast, clean, efficient, and safe—there is a path to high production volume manufacturing. With at least thousands of a specific model type built per year it will enable VTOLs to achieve a dramatically lower per-vehicle cost. The vision portrayed above is ambitious, but we believe it is achievable in the coming decade if all the key actors in the VTOL ecosystem— regulators, vehicle designers, communities, cities, and network operators—collaborate effectively.”
Uber believes some of the critical challenges will be the Vehicle Certification Process, battery technology, Air Traffic Control, Cost and Affordability of on-demand aerial transport, aircraft noise, safety and Vertiport/Vertistop infrastructure in cities. But if the potential of a first on-demand aviation network within the next decade is there, how about the potential for unmanned on-demand aviation?
Uber has thought about this question too. “Longer-term solutions for autonomy will likely provide distributed avionics and control architectures that can prove a greater system reliability at a lower cost than current approaches. This longer term solution will also likely embrace moving the pilot out of the vehicle and onto the ground to improve the vehicle productivity and economics. “Bunker pilots” are already used in the military to handle the remote control of unmanned drones and it is expected that in the mature state, a pilot on the ground would be able to monitor and manage a number of VTOLs at the same time. Emerging concepts such as the NASA Unmanned Aircraft System Traffic Management (UTM) initiative are certainly a first start towards an airspace system that will enable the autonomous trajectory management systems necessary for the future operating environment.”
Amsterdam Drone Week is the global platform for sharing knowledge on current air solutions, potential innovations and vital regulations. Creating valuable connections with all key players, knowledge institutes and authorities to co-create and co-operate to build the UAM-ecosystem. Through virtual hybrid summits, expert sessions and matchmaking, ADW connects the entire UAM value chain around drone regulations, new technology and future solutions.
Receive the Amsterdam Drone Week monthly newsletter, subscribe and stay up to date!
A good website is never finished. With our statistical cookies we analyze how visitors use our website. This allows us to analyze trends, manage the websites, follow the movements of users and gather broad demographic information.
Social media cookies:
These cookies make it possible to use certain social media, such as showing YouTube videos on our websites and to share the content of our websites via social media. If you do not allow these cookies, you cannot play YouTube videos or share content via social media.
We like to offer customization and want to continuously improve the functionality of our websites. With these cookies we can recognize your computer and greet you when you visit our websites, without bothering you with the request to register or log in.
Marketing (targeting) cookies:
Thanks to these cookies, we can see what you find interesting and show you relevant advertisements on our websites and on social media or other websites that you visit, based on your interests.