Uber unveiled on Tuesday a prototype electric air taxi that will begin its tests in 2020 in the United States and Dubai, with the aim of starting its commercial service in 2028.
Uber said in a document on its website that vertical take-off and landing gear (VTOL), “will generate great changes to our cities and lives: faster daily trips, less traffic congestion and cleaner air Worldwide”.
The trip by car between the San Francisco Marina and downtown San Jose, in the United States, is now two hours. But with electric taxi service, the trip would be shortened to 15 minutes with an initial cost of $ 129 per trip.
At present, this journey with UberX costs 111 dollars and with UberPool 83 dollars; however, in its document, the price of the air taxi in the long term would be reduced to 20 dollars for the trip between San Francisco and San José.
Uber applied the same calculations to a route between the center of Sao Paulo and the suburbs in Campinas, in Brazil. In this case the trip would be reduced from two hours and ten minutes by car to 18 minutes with the air taxi, which would cost initially $ 153.
“Aviation on demand has the potential to radically improve urban mobility, giving people back the time lost in their daily trips,” Uber explained.
For this, Uber would deploy a “network of small and electric devices” VTOL piloted together with “vertiports”, nuclei with multiple platforms for the takeoff and landing of air taxis.
The company said that it will cost between 10 and 20 million dollars to build a demonstration unit and that it will require between 150 and 300 million to cover the costs of certification and the purchase of equipment for the initial production.
At the same time that Uber revealed its prototype air taxi, the company announced that it has reached a research agreement with the United States Army for the development and testing of air taxis.
The United States Army will partially finance the development of rotor technology that will allow the operation of electric aerial taxis.