Uber, Aurora introduce new eVTOL flying taxi

The electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft will be made out of carbon fiber.

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Uber (San Francisco) announced it has selected Aurora Flight Sciences (Manassas, Va.) as a partner to develop electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft for its Uber Elevate Network.

The goal of this initiative is to provides the basis for a system of urban transportation that will enable users of the Uber Elevate Network to request an Aurora eVTOL aircraft via Uber's computer or mobile software applications.

Aurora's eVTOL concept, which will be made with carbon fiber, is derived from its XV-24A X-plane program currently underway for the U.S. Department of Defense and other autonomous aircraft the company has developed over the years. Aurora has adapted and combined the autonomous flight guidance system from its Centaur optionally-piloted aircraft, the perception and collision avoidance system from the AACUS program, and the battery electric propulsion system from the XV-24A demonstrator to create the innovative eVTOL design.

Aurora completed its first successful test flight of the eVTOL aircraft on April 20. The companies believe the goal of delivering 50 aircraft for testing by 2020 is well within reach.

"The Uber Elevate mission is all about low noise, high reliability, and low cost," says Aurora CEO John Langford. "By drawing on our nearly 30 years of successful autonomy and robotic programs, Aurora is well positioned to deliver on this urban solution. We have already built and flown the first proof-of-concept aircraft and we're excited to partner with Uber in accelerating the eVTOL initiative."

Check out this video demonstrating the potential of eVTOL: