Uber have unveiled futuristic concept images for ‘skyports’ which will act as stations where passengers could hail the firm’s upcoming flying taxis.
These ‘airports’ can be attached to existing buildings and would enable people to board and disembark from Uber Air vehicles.
Eight firms unveiled sixteen new designs for the Skyports at Uber Elevate, its initiative to launch uberAIR, the aerial electric ride-hailing service.
The ride-hailing company are working with real estate developers and cities to install the ports- which are a bit like helipads – on top of parking blocks and other under-utilised structures
With the first launch of Uber Air just a few short years away, this collection of Skyport Mobility Hub concepts establish a vision for the infrastructure needed in the communities we plan to serve,’ Uber Elevate Head of Design John Badalamenti said.
The firm invited architectural firms to imagine how connected Skyport hubs could be integrated into the urban landscape of Los Angeles, Dallas and Melbourne.
One concept, which was designed with Los Angeles in mind, Gensler’s skyport design features shopping and dining.
The design and architecture firm’s vision of aerial ridesharing is a bold one that promises to ‘shift the way people experience cities’.
Their concept, dubbed CitySpace, is made up of four components – the Final Approach and Takeoff (FATO) area, elevators and boarding area.
Passengers who travelled to the ports using e-bikes, e-scooters and electric cars would have the option to dock and charge their vehicle at the CitySpace.
There would be a concession Village which would include restaurants and shops, as well as a health and wellness centre, inside the terminal for passengers to browse.
They would then travel to the top of the CitySpace, where a flying taxi would be waiting for them, according to Gensler.
While the images are still concepts, it might not be long before they become a reality.
Gensler claims that the CitySpace could be rolled out in Dallas and Los Angeles as soon as 2023.
Diane Hoskins, co-CEO at Gensler, explained: ‘Uber is more than a transportation company; they are pioneering an aerial rideshare experience accessible to everyone where they live, work and play.
‘These fast approaching changes taking place in urban areas are accelerating dramatic changes in the built environment of cities.
‘Gensler’s mission is to create a better world through the power of design, and our Skyports offer an opportunity to shape our cities for tomorrow while creating a more human experience today.’
Also designed with Los Angeles in mind, SHoP’s skyport has been created to handle 72 Uber Air trips per hour. There’s also space for bikes, scooters and electric vehicle charging.
‘To celebrate Uber’s vision of our shared transportation future, we shaped the architecture around the experience of boarding and takeoff, that bold first step into the future of urban flight,’ said SHoP Architects project director Shannon Han.
‘Whether it’s the first time or the fiftieth, walking on to the pad, under the arc of the wing-like roof, each rider’s experience will be dramatically heightened.
‘The balance of the design is intended to effortlessly support the immediacy of that moment.’
‘These designs represent a synergy of purpose, orchestrating a seamless transition between ground transit like Uber Pool and eVTOL aircraft on the roof tarmac – all while contributing to the surrounding neighbourhood,’ said Mr Badalamenti.
‘Architectural minds carry the responsibility to imagine the world in a way that does not exist yet and make it a reality.’
WHAT IS UBER AIR AND HOW MUCH WILL IT COST?
UberAir is a network of small, electric, aircraft that enable four-person ridesharing flights in densely populated areas. Artist’s impression shown
UberAir is a network of small, electric, aircraft that enable four-person ridesharing flights in densely populated areas.
The ‘electrical vertical take-off and landing vehicles’ (eVTOLs) differ from helicopters in that they are quieter, safer, more affordable, and more environmentally-friendly, Uber claims.
Users will order the aircraft through the Uber app much like they would one of the firm’s taxis.
Once they have selected an UberAIR ride, the craft will fly to the nearest ‘Skyport’ – a series of launch pads spread across the city.
Uber estimates that an all-electric, 200mph (320kph) ride across the skies of Los Angeles will be price-competitive with an UberX trip of the same distance.
Uber predicts that trips from LAX to the Staples Centre during rush hour can be reduced from up to 1 hour 20 minutes on the ground to less than 30 minutes using UberAir.
Its prediction includes UberX transfers to and from UberAir launch pads – the flight over LA itself will take around four minutes, the firm said.