Slovenian Pipistrel partners up with Uber to develop city electric planes

Source: Xinhua| 2017-04-26 05:07:10|Editor: yan
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LJUBLJANA, April 25 (Xinhua) -- Slovenian ultralight plane maker Pipistrel has teamed up with U.S. ride-hailing company Uber to develop electric aircraft for personal transportation in big cities, expecting to unveil their first demonstration planes by 2020, according to the Slovenian Press Agency (STA).

Their cooperation marks the beginning of an interesting path towards new means of travel that will not only save users' time but will also be more environmentally friendly, Pipistrel director Ivo Boscarol was quoted by STA as saying as he signed the partnership on Tuesday.

The report of STA did not to disclose where the agreement was signed.

Pipistrel will develop electrical vertical-take-off-and-landing (VTOL) aircraft for short distances within large cities, the STA report said, while Uber will develop the software and hardware needed for controlling urban airspace and managing the aircraft in the planned airborne personal transportation network.

The network, called Uber Elevate Network, is to allow users to hail rides with Pipistrel's VTOL planes in big cities.

Uber engineering director of aviation Mark Moore stressed, according to the STA, that Pipistrel would be an important partner that would allow Uber's VTOL aircraft network to become a reality.

Pipistrel has already made aviation history by developing a hybrid electric drive for planes and an aircraft with a zero-emission hydrogen fuel cell engine which made its first public flight at Stuttgart airport, Germany, in November last year.

Boscarol has stressed several times that his vision is mass production of electric aircraft for day-to-day transport in big cities.