By S.L. Fuller | April 26, 2017
Uber is pursuing urban air transport in the form of electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL). The rideshare company has formed multiple partnerships, including one with Embraer, it said at its Elevate Summit in Dallas, Texas, this week.
Other partners include Aurora Flight Sciences, Pipistrel, Mooney International Corp. and Bell Helicopter. One quality that both Uber and Embraer mentioned made Embraer an attractive partner is its experience in fly-by-wire. The Uber project calls for a brand new type of aircraft, presumably one that incorporates a fly-by-wire concept.
"Embraer is the leading manufacturer of commercial jets up to 130 seats and one of Uber's most experienced partners in this space,” said Mark Moore, Uber’s director of engineering in aviation. “Their knowledge of certifying fly-by-wire aircraft, and their confidence that they can similarly bring fly-by-wire technology affordably to these much smaller aircraft is an essential ingredient for our success.”
Embraer Business Innovation Center, an initiative based in Florida, will have the preliminary lead on the Uber project. The company plans to contribute more than just technology.
"We firmly believe we need to explore several new business concepts that may impact air transportation in the future,” said Embraer CEO Paulo Cesar de Souza e Silva, who spoke at the sumit. “This is a unique opportunity to complement the air transport knowledge of a visionary and revolutionary ground transport company. On exercising this partnership, we will be developing new technologies, new products and new business models, which could generate opportunities for Embraer in the future.”