At Uber’s 2nd Elevate Summit, alongside the flyning car conpect which Uber said will be fully operational by 2023, six leading architecture and engineering firms showcased the first designs for uberAIR Skyports. These conceptual designs mark the first steps from industrial leaders to create infrastructure for high-volume operations of uberAIR networks in and around cities.
From dozens of submissions, six concepts were selected which demonstrate a high degree of realism and technical feasibility. Finalists include: Gannett Fleming, BOKA Powell, Humphreys & Partners Architects, Pickard Chilton working with Arup, Corgan, and The Beck Group. The Skyports are designed to support uberAIR landing and take-off at a busy, high-volume location such as a stadium or concert hall. The concepts are required to support transport of more than 4,000 passengers per hour within a 3 acre footprint and must meet noise and environmental requirements, ensuring that 100% electric VTOLS are able to recharge between trips with minimal impact to nearby communities.
Pickard Chilton and Arup’s design is driven by function, creating a form that would support, augment and perhaps ‘elevate’ the Uber brand. A single module allows for 180 landings and take-offs per hour, accommodating 1800 peak passengers every hour per module. Modules can be combined both vertically and horizontally to allow the Skyport to adapt to the city landscape.
Corgan’s Connect (video above) is a futuristic and forward-looking Mega Skyport concept designed to repair the way roads and highways have partitioned modern cities. The Skyport design can accommodate 1000 landings per hour. Corgan’s design coordinates with established highway networks to repurpose existing and familiar infrastructure and create new travel arteries that can accommodate the higher throughput required of mass adoption. By bridging the divides that highways have left in urban fabric, Connect seeks to reconnect communities and provide a commercial and social opportunity for neighborhoods while providing enhanced access to urban air transportation.
The Uber Hover by Humphreys & Partners takes inspiration from the form of a beehive for its UberAir skyport, modelling itself according to the insects flight patterns to and from the central hub. Similar to bee’s flight patterns to and from a beehive, the aircrafts replicate the same function by showcasing multiple ports of entry and operation. The design accommodates 900 passengers per level, per hour and uses sustainable materials to create an ecosystem that powers itself and gives back to the surround area.
The Beck Group’s Skyport draws inspiration from the transportation hubs of the past and the beauty of hexagonal form found in hives created by honeybees. eVTOLS much like bees, will fly away from the Hive and return in a never ending cycle of activity. The shape is flexible and scalable to accommodate 150 take-offs and landings per hour and can be scaled to up to 1,000 trips per hour.
Inspired by nature, Gannett Fleming’s concept includes paw-like landing platforms. The design would support 52 eVTOLS per hour, per module in a scalable framework that could facilitate more than 600 arrivals and departures and 4,000 people per hour by 2028. The design uses robots to rotate the eVTOL aircrafts 180 degrees on their parking pads to position them to taxi for immediate take-off. With sustainability in mind, the Skyport includes photovoltaic receptors and transparent concrete to enable solar recharging, and sound walls with acoustic baffles to let the wind pass through and minimize noise impacts.
BOKA Powell’s Skyport takes inspiration from the dynamics of flight and can accommodate 1,000 take-offs and landings. The structure is flexible and allows for a reversal of the operation to accommodate wind change and can support an average take-off of less than 3 minutes.