Uber, US Army partner up for silent electric aircraft tech
They will work together to design, test and develop new co-rotating propeller technology for the vehicles.
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The partnership will specifically focus on the use of co-rotating rotors for vertical thrust. Basically a pair of propellers stacked and spinning in the same direction, co-rotating rotors promise to be significantly quieter than traditional single rotors (like those on a helicopter) or paired rotors (like those on your quadcopter) with a benefit of also offering improved performance and efficiency.
All of the electric urban aircraft unveiled at Uber Elevate 2018
Uber finds a quieter aircraft is desirable because its eVTOL designs and upcoming UberAir service are meant to be used in urban areas where noise pollution is a factor. Less noise pollution means more flexibility for the routes its flying taxis can take and where they can land. I shouldn't have to explain the benefits of improved efficiency for a flying electric vehicle; it's a huge factor in battery and recharge cycle management.
The Army hopes to further the development of next-generation silent VTOL craft and unmanned air vehicles. Stacked co-rotating rotors have never been used on an existing flying craft before and Uber along with the Army's research lab expect to split a combined $1 million in funding to research the technology.
Building on this rotor partnership, Uber also announced a partnership with electric propulsion company Launchpoint Technologies on modeling, design and fabrication of novel electric motors built specifically for the stacked co-rotating rotors of the eVTOL concepts. One such concept image displayed during the Elevate conference showed the e-motors integrated into the rotors' hubs, potentially saving weight and space.