Uber Technologies Inc announced Tuesday an agreement with the U.S. Army to develop a revolutionary rotor system for aircraft. The technology, which will allow for vertical take-off and landing, could be used in flying urban transportation or military craft.
According to a statement by the rideshare giant and the Army’s Research, Development and Engineering arm, $1 million has been allotted for the project.
The new aerial design will consist of two rotors, one on top of the other, moving in the same direction. Uber and the Army claim the novel approach, which has never been employed in production, will be quieter than traditional stacked rotor setups.
Development partnerships with private companies are becoming common with the Army.
Dr. Jaret Riddick, director of the service branch’s Research Laboratory’s Vehicle Technology Directorate, explained to the Army Research Lab, “This agreement with Uber displays the Army utilizing innovative approaches to collaborate with an industry partner that is truly on the cutting edge … This supports the Army modernization priorities for future vertical lift aircraft.”
Uber, which has previously collaborated with NASA in the creation of aircraft management software, aims to align itself with other government agencies moving forward. So says Mark Moore, the organization’s director of engineering, as reported by The New York Times.
The Army intends to utilize the advanced mechanics to create drones which are less easily heard than the current crop and do not require runways.
Officials for Uber told CNBC their flying vehicles, which will hover 1,000 to 2,000 feet above ground, will be available to passengers by 2023.