Uber Elevate, the US ride-sharing major’s aerial taxi arm, is considering India as one of the five countries where it wants to launch the service. An Uber team conveyed this to Union minister of State for Civil Aviation (Jayant Sinha) during a meeting on Tuesday. Uber plans to start commercial operations of “on-demand aviation” aerial taxis by 2023 in Dallas, Los Angeles and an international city.
“They are considering five countries for launch of air taxis. When I had met Uber CEO (on February 22, 2018), I had stressed on him the need to do so, given our country’s consumer base. Now, Uber has informed me that India is one of the five countries they are evaluating for launching air taxis. They are very close to selecting India (for this),” Jayant Sinha (Minister of State for Civil Aviation), after meeting Uber’s chief business officer Madhu Kannan.
After the February meeting, Dara Khosrowshahi had tweeted: “Great meeting with (Jayant Sinha) to discuss airport partnerships and future of commercial air travel in the form of flying cars.”
— dara khosrowshahi (@dkhos) February 22, 2018
Passenger drones will essentially be small vertical take off and landing aircraft that can be used for urban mobility. Unlike helicopters, vertical takeoff and lending (VTOL) aircraft will make use of electric propulsion, which will be quiet, barely audible at flying altitude.
The concept is supposed to cruise between 150 and 200 miles per hour, up to 2,000 feet above the ground. A single charge will be good enough for 60 miles of range and Uber expects the thing to need just five minutes to top up the batteries between flights. While the drone policy announced on does not allow delivery of packages and meals by ecommerce firms, Jayant Sinha clarified: “That policy is for general users. If someone has a pecialised application for drones and can ensure the required security and air navigation, such cutting edge uses may be allowed on a case-to-case basis.”
Details of VERTIPORTS & VTOLS :
- All electric, seating four people plus a pilot, in a single slim body woth large windows.
- These drones will takeoff and land verically.
- Roofs of parking garages or unused land near highways to be used for Vertiports.
- Vertiports will be VTOL hubs with takeoff and landing pads and charging infrastructure.
- Vertiports will need to integrated with public transport.
- VTOLs will not follow fixed routes.
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Jayant Sinha said they are looking at cities that face traffic issues. “Passenger drones can enable people to travel distances of 30 to 50 km at a much higher speed than by surface transport. Our security considerations will apply for passenger drones as they do for other drones,”.