Uber Launches eVTOL Research Center


Uber will invest $23 million over the next five years to create a new Advanced Technologies Center in Paris that will focus on the company’s Elevate project, which aims to bring autonomous eVTOL taxis into urban areas, the company has announced. “France is a perfect home for our next step forward, with its strong history of research and development, world-class engineers and a unique role in aviation worldwide,” Uber said in a news release. Initially, the project will focus on developing capabilities to support Uber’s goal of launching demo flights of its air-taxi system in three cities by 2020. These priorities include airspace management, autonomy, artificial intelligence, real-time communication networks, energy storage and charging systems.

The company already has established advanced-technology centers in Pittsburgh, Toronto and San Francisco, where they also have an artificial-intelligence lab. The Paris ATC will open this fall, Uber said, and will be the first of its technology offices to focus exclusively on Uber Elevate. The company also announced it has established a five-year partnership with cole Polytechnique, a Paris research university known for its engineering programs. Uber will endow a research position to focus on “Integrated Urban Mobility” at the school. Initial collaborative research projects will include machine-learning-based transport-demand modeling, high-density low-altitude air traffic management simulations, integration of innovative airspace transport solutions with European aviation regulators and the development of smart grids to support future fleets of electric transport on the ground and in the air. “Together we’ll work towards a future where anyone can get a flight at the push of a button,” Uber said in its news release.