Uber and Aircraft OEMs Give More eVTOL Details

 - April 26, 2017, 11:34 AM

Uber executives and partner companies laid out more details for the Uber Elevate eVTOL Network in Dallas yesterday, announcing partnerships with several aircraft OEMs, technology companies and real estate developers. Initially, the Uber Elevate program will launch in Dallas and Dubai.

The vehicles will have stringent requirements for safety, noise and emissions, and be expected to have a range of at least 60 miles, maximum speed of 150 mph and direct operating costs of $1.32 or less per passsenger mile, which Uber points out is less than the variable costs of car ownership. Meanwhile, the Perot family's Hillwood Group has committed to building the first four additional vertiports required to support the network.

On the OEM side, Embraer CEO Paulo Cesar de Souza e Silva said his company is not only ready to pursue vehicle design, but also to assist in the necessary ATC infrastructure. Bell Helicopter director of engineering innovation Scott Drennan said his company's design would be robust enough to fly 2,000 hours per year, be “modular, adaptable and scalable” and likely be certified under the powered-lift category (FAR 121.17B).

Carter Aviation Technologies and Mooney are partnering on developing a four- to six-seat vehicle that uses Carter's slowed rotor compound design. Airbus said a full-scale version of its eVTOL would fly by year-end. Other OEMs presenting at the Uber summit included Lilium, Pipistrel and Aurora Flight Sciences.