Uber Air could bring air taxis to the urban metropolis as soon as 2020. The company's ambitious plan for on-demand air travel would see small electric aircraft taking off from transport nodes, known as "skyports", dotted throughout the city. Uber has commissioned a number of potential skyport designs to show us what the future of on-demand air taxis could look like.
This skyport design, created by architecture firm Gannett Fleming, features "acoustic baffles" to direct noise upwards (rather than down to the street below) and would be able to handle 200 flights per hour, taking off and landing every 24 seconds.
Uber's skyports would be built in existing traffic hubs around the city, connecting with public transport and busy freeways to become part of a "multi-modal" solution to easing congestion.
Vertical skyports, like this design from architectural firm Humphreys & Partners, could be built in high-density areas, allowing UberAir aircraft to takeoff and land in tight spaces.
In big cities, multiple skyports could be stacked together to scale up as UberAir grows. This design, by firms Arup and Pickard Chilton, features eight separate skyports stacked together.
Aircraft could charge on multiple levels inside, and when it comes time to takeoff, they would move up to the open takeoff space (or rooftop) via an automated elevator.
By building skyports on top of existing roads and highways, passengers would be able to easily reach their nearest skyport using other modes of transport, while noise pollution would be less noticeable thanks to existing highway noise.
Design firm Beck created this render of a potential UberAir skyport, which features multiple takeoff and landing pads stacked on top of each other.
Uber says it will keep building costs down by taking advantage of existing infrastructure like skyscrapers and car parks for UberAir skyports. This design, created by Uber, shows a stacked skyport built on top of a multi-level parking structure.
In the future, Uber says more levels could be added to this rooftop skyport as UberAir scales up.
Another modular design, this time from design firm Corgan, combines multiple hexagonal skyports connected together over a highway, with passengers boarding from a station below.
The exploded view of Corgan's design shows two skyports side by side, with the station and commuter plaza in the levels beneath.
With this design, aircraft could loop around in a figure 8 pattern to land, offload passengers and board new passengers and then take off on the other side.