(TNS) — Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin will help develop new rotor technology for Uber's proposed aviation ride-share network, called uberAIR.
The Cockrell School of Engineering announced Thursday that it will work with the U.S. Army Research Labs and Uber Elevate to develop this technology.
Last year, Uber announced that the first Uber Elevate cities would be Dallas and Los Angeles, with a goal of flight demonstrations in 2020 and plans to make uberAIR commercially available to riders in those cities by 2023.
The uberAIR vehicles will be designed to take off and land vertically. It will be a fully electric vehicle with cruising speeds of 150 mph to 200 mph, cruising altitudes of 1,000 feet to 2,000 feet, and the ability to fly up to 60 miles on a single charge.
The UT team leader on the project is Jayant Sirohi, associate professor in UT's Department of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics. He is an expert in unmanned aerial vehicles, more commonly known as drones, vertical take-off and landing aircraft and fixed- and rotary-wing aeroelasticity.
He and his team will explore the efficiency and noise level of stacked co-rotating rotors, or propellers, for vertical take off and landing. This technology has two rotor systems stacked on top of each other and rotating in the same direction.
Preliminary testing shows that stacked co-rotating rotors could be more efficient than other approaches. It could also improve the versatility and overall performance for a flying vehicle.
"UT is uniquely positioned to contribute to this new technology, and Uber has recognized that," Sirohi said in the news release. "In addition to the technical expertise we bring to this area, we also already have a rig to test new rotor configurations right here on campus."
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