Uber Announces Flying Taxi Service in Dallas, Texas

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With the big leaps in small, vertical take-off aircraft, the stage is set for commercial use. Uber announced that they plan to have an air taxi service ready for testing in 2020 and public use in Dallas (Tx) and LA by 2023.

The concept is all-electric, and seats four people plus a pilot, in single file in a slim, cylindrical body with large windows. The design, reminiscent of a catamaran, features streamlined nacelles suspended high on each side, on slender supports. These are the battery pods. On top of each, and atop two smaller, even farther outboard pods, sit stacked rotors, which provide the electric vertical lift for takeoff and landing. At the very back, where the tail would be on a conventional plane, a propeller faces forwards, ready to power horizontal flight. There’s just one door, on one side, to simplify ground operations. No need for extra steps or worrying about people exiting on the wrong side into an active landing pad. https://www.wired.com/story/uber-unveils-flying-taxi/

 

Initially the craft will operate from helipads and the regional airport. They have a projected speed of 150-200 miles per hour, with a range of 60 miles on one charge. Having spent a fair amount of time Dallas, I can definitely see why people would be interested in getting to and from the airport without going through the ground traffic hassle. Eventually, Uber thinks they will be able to land the craft in residential areas. I can see it now – a helipad at the grocery store parking lot. On the other hand, Uber has had its share of accidents, as have self-driving cars in general. I’m all for moving into the age of the Jetsons, but need a bit more reassurance on the safety side.

While researching this article, I came across an earlier one that showed other aircraft being considered. Oh my, there are some elegant versions with a strong resemblance to personal spacecraft. I think you all will enjoy looking at them.

https://www.theverge.com/2018/5/8/17331490/uber-flying-taxi-embraer-pipistrel-karem

 

For more interesting discussions on innovation and future projects, check out our board, The Divine Future: Innovative Projects & Concepts on our community forum, The Roundtable.

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Angela
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I would have to see a lot of positive reviews to feel safe in one of those. It sounds like it would be pretty groundbreaking, but they’re talking about creating an all new aircraft and almost immediately putting passengers on it at high volume. As another note, my husband works in the airline industry and has not very favourable comments towards Embraer, the company posed to build these things. He notes that just because you have a lot of years experience, doesn’t mean that it’s proven good experience. Heh. We’ll see what comes of it, I guess. It’s a cool… Read more »

Pucksterguy
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When I can get one with a 350 mile/ 500km range I’ll be happy to buy one. It’s a great concept, it just needs refining.
therium
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When I can get one with a 350 mile/ 500km range I’ll be happy to buy one. It’s a great concept, it just needs refining.

The world does not have the battery technology for that yet. We can only get so many watts per kilogram of battery size. That needs to increase quite a bit for a longer range battery.

Robert Murray-Smith on Youtube is working on a more power-dense battery and it’s almost ready for production. He’s working on a prototype production line right now. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC4AkVj-qnJxNtKuz3rkq16A

Pucksterguy
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therium said The world does not have the battery technology for that yet. We can only get so many watts per kilogram of battery size. That needs to increase quite a bit for a longer range battery. Robert Murray-Smith on Youtube is working on a more power-dense battery and it’s almost ready for production. He’s working on a prototype production line right now. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC4AkVj-qnJxNtKuz3rkq16A Click to expand… I spent a lot of time a couple of yrs ago researching motors, batteries and over unity. Everybody has theories and plans but no real working models. To me the simplest and easiest… Read more »

therium
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I’ve been researching energy generation too, mostly from wind power and photovoltaic power, but a little with peltier elements too. Nothing else has really panned out. Pucksterguy said Ergo a usable current can be achieved and utilized. Click to expand… So that’s not quite how atmospheric energy works. You can get 100 volts AC from a wire held up 50ft in the air, but the current is in the microamps, not usable for anything. So power(in) = power(out). When you reduce the voltage from 100vac, to increase the amps (current), the current is still not usable even to light an… Read more »

Pucksterguy
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I’m thinking in terms of power generation. Why use batteries to store power to run the helicopter when you should be able to generate the needed power. As in a gas motor to run the props, instead use electric motors and an electrical generator on board. You can use magnetism, the inherent power in the atmosphere, ether etc. I have solar panels powering my off grid cottage now, thats the only source of effective power I could find. I don’t like windmills, too noisy and not enough current in the water to effectively run a water generator(i need to reasearch… Read more »

Pucksterguy
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My thinking is generate the power as you need it rather then plug it in and charge batteries.