NEED A LIFT
Civilian airspace seems to be the only untapped resource in the race for ridehailing companies looking to take commuters out of cars and into its flying taxis. Uber is the latest to reveal its plans for sky-based taxi services which, it hopes, will take flight by 2023. It plans to utilise battery-electric powered VTOL (Vertical Take-Off and Landing) aircraft that will be propelled by four rotors providing lift, while only a single rear-mounted rotor will provide forward thrust. According to Uber, its passenger drones will only operate at an altitude of between one and two thousand feet above the ground, while speed won’t exceed 463 km/h — as regulated by the FAA at altitudes under 10,000 feet, or around 3,000 metres. Uber also added that a significant challenge in the project is the relative shortage of commercially qualified pilots versus the possible demand for the commuting service.