By Kayla Kibbe / June 12, 2019

Uber’s New Air Taxi Design Opts for Efficiency Over Cupholders

Uber's vision for efficient air travel cuts out all the nonessentials

Uber is unveiling new designs at the Uber Elevate Summit in D.C.
Uber is unveiling new designs at the Uber Elevate Summit in D.C.
Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images for Uber Elevate

Uber is cutting the fat as it takes to the sky with a new vision for highly efficient urban air transport.

In order to minimize weight and and promote a swift boarding and de-boarding process, Uber’s new air taxi design is sticking to the bare minimum, cutting out nonessentials like cupholders, back-seat pockets, charge points and extra storage spaces, Forbes reported.

“We realized for an 8-minute flight, that’s all irrelevant,” said Ian Scoley, a vice president at Safran, the French aerospace company behind Uber Elevate’s new design model.

Uber unveiled a full-scale mock up of the sleek cabin interior Tuesday at the Uber Elevate urban air mobility conference in Washington, D.C. Complete with aerospace-grade “ultra leather” upholstered seats designed to reduce friction and allow for quick sliding in and out of the vehicle, the cabin is engineered with efficiency in mind.

While the seats don’t recline — an unnecessarily weighty amenity for the 20 minute maximum rides Uber plans to offer — they are angled away from each other at an introversion-friendly 10 degrees in order to reduce social awkwardness and/or unnecessary small talk with your chatty co-passenger. The angle also helps passengers avoid accidental arm contact while providing a better view out the windows, which seems like a win-win situation. 

Uber’s plan to operate a fully electric fleet means ultra-light travel is a necessity given the low power density of batteries. The design also saves weight by cutting out interior lining and under-seat storage, instead offering a narrow rear luggage compartment sized for standard carry-on bags.

Uber Elevate hopes to launch the spare yet sleek design in the Dallas and Los Angeles metro areas in 2023.

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