Uber Elevate, an aerial ride-hailing, is yet to debut its aerial ride-sharing services but is apparently set to test run its helicopter rides; what it calls Ubercopter service, in New York City next month. Uber plans to reduce the amount of time spent on the road by the commuters plying the Lower Manhattan to JFK. Uber anticipates a general time decrease by an hour or at much two to about nine minutes during the peak period.
Uber earliest scheduled date for a New York ride is July 9. By arrangement, the campaign is designed to operate in an on-demand transit basis. Passengers will join the Uber copters from a terminal close to the Staten Island Ferry terminal to a landing area which is close to JFK airport, by enrooting through the city’s traffic. In between these two points, Uber will connect passengers with Uber taxis for a complete trip.
For about 8-minute, one-way ride, the trip with the fairy car will cost about $200 and $225, i.e., with the private ground transportation on both ends of the trip being inclusive. Three years ago, when the firm announced the ride-hailing project; Uber Elevate, the social media was rocked with feedbacks and interest of people. How amazing it was to learn and have the reality of cars flying in the future. Today, though yet to fully commence operation, the reality of what it announced three years ago will be noticed in New York City starting July 9.
This new service by Uber will be booked with the Uber-app and will take commuters between Lower Manhattan and Kennedy International Airport, about an eight-minute ride. In his words, Eric Allison, the head of Uber Elevate mentioned and I quote “This is a trip that so many travelers make a day, and we see an opportunity to save them a huge amount of time on it,”
At the moment, it will take up to an hour and may likely surge to two hours at periods when demands are high to complete a similar trip by a car. Seemingly, other transit option including the subway and the Long Island Railroad may take a staggering 50 and 75 minutes respectively. Ubercopter is, therefore, an initiative put in place to reduce the journey duration to about 30 minutes or lesser. “We plan to eventually roll out Ubercopter to more Uber customers and other cities, but we want to do it right. The main goal of this initial venture is to understand the operations behind aerial vehicles.” Mr. Allison continued.
Who will have access to the ride?
Obviously, at the moment, Ubercopter is not open to all drivers. It is only available for Uber drivers who are the Platinum and Diamond levels, respectively. They are the top two tiers of the company’s loyalty program, and of course, the targets for the Uber Rewards packages. To have a feel of the ride-hailing service, customers are to make and complete all arrangements to join the copter on-demand basis or up to 5 days in advance.
Ubercopter which have been scheduled to operate through work days- Monday through Friday will accommodate up to about five people. The moment seat reservation is done; the customer will get a message similar to a boarding pass via email from Uber. Like all Uber rides, a dynamic pricing mechanism will apply. Price fixing shall be informed by the prevailing demand at that the time. However, the average ride fare has been pegged at $200 to $225 per individual. Nikhil Goel, Uber Elevate head of product added.
How are Departures Scheduled?
Ubercopter will leave Manhattan and land near the Staten Island Ferry. Similarly, at Kennedy, they will depart and land at a helipad near Terminal 8. Uber cars will pick up and drop off Commuters in Manhattan, and at Kennedy, they’ll be met at the helicopter tarmac by a car and taken straight to the helicopter tarmac, Mr. Goel added. Arrangements have been concluded for HeliFlite Network-based firms having a fleet of twin-engine helicopters to operate the helicopter. On every flight, two Pilots will be scheduled onboard. Passengers are thrilled to a 90 seconds safety video before the commencement of the ride. Typically, helicopters do not have enough capacity by weight and space for luggage. So are these aerial vehicles by Uber. Commuters are allowed to carry a personal bag, and another called a carry-on which should weight not any more than 40 pounds.
New York City Raises Concerns over the Planned Aerial Transit
A few concerns concerning Ubercopter have sprung up. According to Citylab, unlike the energy efficient electric type vehicles, as portrayed in the company’s CGI promotional film, the anticipated flying vehicles in New York will differ. They are the typical twin-engine gas-fueled copters, which releases CO2 than what cars do and cause more noise pollution while in operation. Citylab furthered that Blade a close substitute to Ubercopter depends heavily on these helicopters; one of which crashed into the Hudson River in the early part of this month. Though no life was lost, a great concern about the safety of Ubercopter commuters and the city inhabitants remains unresolved. If the concerns of Citylab is anything to go by, will Ubercopter trips make our city noisier, dirtier and the fares, more expensive? Uber has made its position known on these issues. Uber hopes to be more safety conscious, reduce aircraft noise, and end toxic gas emission. But how? See below what Uber wants to do-
· Be More Safety Conscious: Uber Copters proposes a safer transit from point A to B than driving a car would. According to Federal Aviation Regulation (FAR) Part 135 operations, on-demand flights have on an average, twice the number of fatality rate of privately run cars. This is about to end; because Uber is envisaging a VTOL that is twice as safe as driving. The DEP and pilot augmentation are also a principal component of the safety equation.
· Reduce Aircraft Noise Considerably: In other that the urban locals accept aircraft, then one key component to take into considerations is the noise. The aim is to achieve a noise level that significantly blends with the noise level of the environment. The expectation is to design VTOL that is one-half as loud as a medium sized truck. Yet again, the electric propulsion is vital to enhance engine noise and the thrust noise from the propulsion
· End CO2 Emissions:
Transportation account for the significant amount of greenhouse gases discharged to the atmosphere. The traditional aircraft engines operate either on gasoline (typically 100 Low Lead aviation fuel for piston engines), or jet fuel for turbine engines; not environmentally friendly. The concern of city dwellers is that of pollution. For the acceptability, the Air vehicles will represent a new form and large scale city transit; for this reason, it must be environmentally sustainable and responsible. The complete air vehicle serves as that much-anticipated solution; generating a zero in-flight carbon emission and providing a pathway towards considerable lower carbon regime