Uber Seeks More eVTOL Partners for Ride-share Program

 - September 4, 2019, 12:42 PM

Uber is open to proposals from eVTOL aircraft developers to join as partners in its planned Uber Air ride-share air-taxi service. The company has previously selected six partners, but at this week’s Global Urban Air Summit in the UK, Uber advanced technology research center director François Sillion said more could be added. “We don’t think any one company will win and there could be more than one aircraft on our platform,” he said.

Boeing subsidiary Aurora Flight Sciences, Bell, EmbraerX, Karem Aircraft, Pipistrel Vertical Solutions, and Jaunt Air Mobility are already working as partners to develop Uber’s plans to launch services from 2023. At the Global Urban Air Summit, another U.S.-based eVTOL developer told AIN that it is poised to sign a partnership agreement with Uber.

Sillion explained that Uber is actively developing plans to launch services in U.S. cities including Los Angeles, Denver, Las Vegas, Phoenix, San Francisco, Dallas, and New York. Dallas appears to be a frontrunner because Uber is drawing up plans to develop “skyports” where passengers can board flights in downtown Dallas, Plano, Fort Worth, and at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport. “This won’t be mass transportation, but it won’t just be for the rich either,” he told attendees at the conference in Farnborough, UK. “There will be thousands of flights carrying around 10,000 people each day in the urban areas we will serve.”

As part of an extensive launch program, Uber in July started helicopter services in New York City with its operator partner HeliFlite. The company is rolling out its Elevate Cloud Services system to support all aspects of flight operations.

In discussion with city governments, it is also developing networks of so-called “Skylines” in the cities it plans to serve. These will determine which route is optimum at any given time for a specific flight, based on factors such as air traffic density, terrain and “community acceptance” issues, such as noise. FBO group Signature Flight Support has been selected as a partner to help develop "skyports" with Uber and provide ground support.