Embraer Unveils eVTOL Design at Uber Elevate Summit

Candidates for metropolitan air-taxi concept are committed to creating viable products.

Embraer eVTOL
Embraer unveiled a stunning futuristic eVTOL concept for Uber's metropolitan air taxi program.Embraer

Uber is holding its Uber Elevate Summit this week at the Skirball Center in Los Angeles, where industry leaders are discussing the future of metropolitan air transportation. Two well-established GA manufacturers, Slovenia's Pipistrel and Brazil's Embraer, revealed conceptual eVTOL designs at this year’s Summit.

Embraer unveiled its eVTOL concept under the company’s subsidiary EmbraerX. While no details were announced, EmbraerX said its key targets are safety, passenger experience, affordability and a low noise and emissions footprint.

Pipistrel, meanwhile, announced that it will develop its eVTOL model with another Slovenian company, Elan, which has become a leader in composite manufacturing for a variety of products including sporting equipment and power plant components for windmills.

Other than a conceptual image, neither a name nor any specifics were announced, but the company plans to build a scalable model to satisfy Uber’s need for transporting two to six passengers. “Pipistrel is not only a designer but also a certified aircraft manufacturer,” said Pipistrel’s founder and general manager Ivo Boscarol. “That is why our ambitions regarding the cooperation with Uber are not only in developing the design for the air vehicle, but also in large-scale production of it.”

Pipistrel and Embraer are two of five potential eVTOL developments that have been selected for the Uber Elevate concept, the others being Aurora Flight Sciences, Karem and Bell. A test phase of the UberAir concept is scheduled to begin in Dallas and Los Angeles in 2020, with commercial service starting in 2023. Uber is looking for two additional cities in which to conduct its initial testing.