Uber Teams with Army on Silent Aircraft Tech

Uber Technologies Inc. is collaborating with the U.S. Army on a co-rotating propeller system that could be used for flying taxis and military drones.

 
The partners plan to spend a combined $1 million to design and test the system, which features two rotors stacked on top of each other and rotating in the same direction. The design promises to be significantly quieter and provide other performance benefits than traditional paired rotor approaches being developed for other vertical takeoff and landing aircraft.

The partners announced the agreement at Uber’s annual Elevate conference this week in Los Angeles. California-based Launchpoint Technologies Inc. will supply electric motors to the program.

Uber aims to launch commercial service of its planned air taxi fleet by 2023. The company unveiled its latest prototype this week and expects to begin public testing in 2020.

Last year Uber inked a deal with NASA to help establish an air traffic control network plan for its fleet. The ride-hailing giant also is working with several aviation firms, including Bell, Embraer, Karem, Pipistrel and Boeing’s Aurora Flight subsidiary.