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Uber air taxi maker Embraer floats a “simple” new design for its flying SUV

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This week, Uber convenes its third Elevate Summit in Washington, D.C., to promote a future of quiet, electric air taxis whisking us from urban rooftop to rooftop for close to the price of an earthly car share. It’s like a science-fiction convention.

Not that these technologies are impossible: Experts I’ve spoken with say they are 5, 10, maybe 15 years away, limited by batteries, infrastructure, and regulations, among other things. To keep that time frame as short as possible, one of Uber’s aircraft makers, Brazil’s Embraer, proposes a deliberately simple aircraft design.

“Embraer could do a very complex design—we have technology to do that,” says Antonio Campello, president and CEO of the company’s “market accelerator” division, EmbraerX, which shared its mock-ups with Fast Company. “A very complex design will not bring very low operating costs, will not bring the reliability that these aircraft need, will not bring the availability that these aircraft need.”

The clearest example is how Embraer approaches........

© Fast Company