Embraer’s ‘air taxi’ is still in the design phase, and, as such, was ‘revealed’ only in simulations at the Elevate Summit. In theory, it’s a vertical-takeoff-and-landing (VTOL) vehicle, reminiscent of a helicopter, but electric – and so, ostensibly, quiet. It would be thrust upwards by four vertically oriented rotors, mounted on either side of the roof; and then onwards by a large propeller engine, affixed to the purring aircraft’s tail. Embraer’s design would seat four passengers and, at least initially, a pilot, until the technology for autonomous flight has been perfected. (Although perhaps in light of recent events, Uber should concentrate on improving their self-driving vehicles, first.)
If the project unfolds according to its plans, Uber will pilot its air-taxi service in population-dense cities such as Dubai and Dallas in about 2020. In addition to addressing problems that pertain to the legality of this venture, the company would have to assemble ‘skyports,’ or outfit existing buildings with landing pads and the infrastructure necessary for maintaining its fleets. But the benefits for Uber’s customers might be well worth the effort: according to Uber, its flying taxi service would only cost as much as an average ride in an Uber black, and could eventually take people from city to city.
LOOK | The Skyport Designs: