Uber is showing the world what it wants the inside of its air taxis to look like, with a mockup by cabin interiors supplier Safran.
A mockup of the interior of an Uber Air vehicle, created by Safran Cabin’s Design and Innovation Studio, is on display at the Uber Elevate Summit in Washington, DC, this week.
The cabin features four herringbone seats to allow for easy loading an unloading of passengers and facilitate five-minute turnaround times, according to Wampie Kegel, director of Communications at Safran Cabin. “The Mission Driven Cabin includes only the exact features required for a typical flight mission of approximately eight minutes,” Kegel told APEX Media. “Seats are rotated slightly toward their respective windows to optimize the passenger view as the vehicle flies at 1,500 feet.”
“Seats are rotated slightly toward their respective windows to optimize the passenger view.” – Wampie Kegel, Safran Cabin
There is also room for a pilot at the front of the electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL). “Ultimately eVTOL aircraft for Uber’s operations are intended to fly autonomously,” Kegel said. “However, for a certain number of years initially, pilots will be on board all aircraft flying Uber Air services.”
— Safran Cabin (@Safran_Cabin) June 12, 2019
The cabin is designed to offer a consistent passenger experience, regardless of the vehicle manufacturer, Kegel explained: “[It] represents the vision Uber has for a common look and feel, industrial design, passenger experience and Uber brand in any eVTOL vehicle that Uber may put into passenger service.”
Safran Cabin, whose product range includes integrated cabin interiors, overhead bins, galleys, lavatories, crew rests and cargo containers, hosted passenger experience studies at its Design and Innovation Studio in Huntington Beach, California, during the design process. The cabin interiors supplier also consulted multiple vehicle OEMs and regulatory bodies.
“While the cabin may be minimal in some ways, it’s absolutely purpose built to the mission.” – Scott Savian, Design and Innovation Studio, Safran Cabin
“Through the process with Uber, we had six full-scale mockups, with multiple iterations in each one, looking at the seats, liners, and window positioning,” Scott Savian, EVP of Safran Cabin’s Design and Innovation Studio, said in a press release. “We don’t want any excess weight or cost, but the mission also requires safety, a comfortable user experience, and a seamlessness of all the user interactions. So while the cabin may be minimal in some ways, it’s absolutely purpose built to the mission.”
Safran Helicopter Engines provided the hybrid-electric propulsion system (HEPS) for the Bell Nexus, which was unveiled at the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show. The eVTOL is scheduled to enter service as part of the Uber Elevate initiative, which plans to launch air taxis in Dallas, Los Angeles and Melbourne, with test flights to begin as early as next year.