Mumbai could get Uber air taxis by 2023

Which Mumbai commuter hasn’t dreamed of getting from Churchgate to Andheri in 10 minutes, preferably without getting on the Western Express Highway? If all goes well, this dream could become a reality by 2023. The American tech giant is developing an aerial ride-sharing service under its ‘Uber Elevate’ programme, which seeks to address the problem of road congestion in major cities.

Uber has prepared an aerial map between the Mumbai airport and Churchgate to highlight the benefits. “To get a sense of what such a service might look like, we have developed this map from the Mumbai airport to Churchgate. This trip typically takes 100 minutes by car. We can do it in 10 minutes by air. This is the type of aerial mobility that is possible with Uber Air,” said Eric Allison, Global CEO, Uber Aviation Programs. He was making a presentation on futuristic urban mobility at the 43rd annual general meeting of the US India Business Council (USIBC) in Mumbai.

Uber Elevate plans to have the demonstration flight in 2020 and start commercial service in 2023. Its partners include aircraft manufacturers such as Embraer, Bell, Aurora Flight Sciences, Pipistrel Aircraft and Karem, which will develop Electric Vertical Take-off and Landing (e-VTOL) vehicles.

Uber’s e-VTOL requirements specify that the vehicle have a cruising speed of 150-200 mph, a cruising altitude of 1,000-2,000 feet, and the capability to do trips of up to 60 miles on a single charge. “Our launch markets are Dallas and Los Angeles. We are looking for a third city outside the U.S. Five countries are in our short-list: Australia, Brazil, France, India and Japan,” Mr. Allison said.

“We have invested heavily in aerial mobility. Uber Air will be the next big thing in urban mobility,” he said.

He said Uber’s objective was to move people in air at a cost comparable to other modes of mobility. “We are working with global firms for the long term future of this project. They can develop mega sky ports that can handle 1,000 landings per hour,” he said.

The cities under consideration for an Uber Air service include Tokyo and Osaka in Japan; Mumbai, Delhi, and Bengaluru in India; Sydney and Melbourne in Australia; Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo in Brazil, and Paris in France. The city that is finally chosen will be announced in six months.

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Printable version | Jun 30, 2022 5:02:04 am |