Uber’s prediction of a world with commonplace urban air transit systems relies heavily on the widespread use of small self-flying electric aircraft with vertical takeoff and landing capability. Also known as VTOL, it is most commonly used by helicopters, as well as a small number of military aircraft.
According to the Uber white paper, a network of VTOL hubs or landing pads, dubbed “vertiports” and “vertistops”, could be used as terminals to ferry passengers. Unlike cars, buses and trains, VTOLs aren’t susceptible traffic jams or delays — they can fly from A to B with no fixed route. The company estimates the cost of a 15-minute flight may eventually reach as low as $21.
The aircraft would fly at cruise speeds of around 150 miles per hour and won’t go above 10,000 feet. The VTOL would be powered by rechargeable batteries that’d maintain 30-minutes of reserve energy.