Uber accelerates to test its new U-boat delivery service for Uber Eats in San Diego in 2020. Today, the company introduces a new look for its drone, which uses “innovative six-rotor swivel wings” to better enable the transition between vertical takeoff and forward flight.
Wing rotation is a more common feature of flying car prototypes and rarely drones. Uber explains that the rotors are placed vertically for take-off and landing, but can then turn forward (pictured above) “to increase speed and efficiency during cruising flight”.
The rotating wing is similar to that designed by Mark Moore, a NASA veteran and a VTOL expert, for the company’s prototype air taxi. The drone and air taxis projects are both part of Uber Elevate, the firm’s ambitious game to bring its transport and delivery service to the skies. He wants to test taxi flights in 2020, with a commercial launch in 2023.
The drone’s load capacity is a meal for two people, said Uber, adding that the drone had already passed its “critical design review” and that it should take off before the end of the year. Earlier this year, the Federal Aviation Administration gave Uber the green light to begin testing drone delivery in San Diego.
The drone is designed to make a maximum delivery journey in eight minutes, including loading and unloading. Your cruising altitude will be less than 400 feet to comply with the rules on drones. It will have a total flying range of 18 miles without delivery and 12 miles with one. And the drone can float in winds up to 30 mph.
Drone delivery moves from concept to reality with a series of new tests. Last week, Alphabet’s Wing rolled out its first delivery drones in Virginia. Other major companies, such as Amazon and UPS, are also in the early stages of the experiment.
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