Uber, GE partner on aerial ride-sharing program in bid to reimagine post-pandemic aviation industry

The initial launch of Uber Air service is planned for 2023

Uber and GE announced a new partnership Wednesday to transform the world through aerial ride-sharing on a large scale, as the aviation industry is reimagined for the post-pandemic era.

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Uber Elevate selected GE Aviation’s Digital Group as an ecosystem partner for their aerial ride-sharing program, which will develop requirements for a flight data monitoring program to support electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) vehicles on the Uber platform.

The initial launch of its Uber Air service is planned for 2023 utilizing electric VTOL (vertical takeoff and landing) aircraft in Dallas and Los Angeles.

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“This partnership will help expand our digital innovation as the travel industry continues to evolve,” said Andrew Coleman, general manager of GE Aviation’s Digital Group, in a statement. "We’re able to bring our experience in digital across the travel ecosystem by helping travelers reach their destination safely and efficiently.”

“Safety is a core value for Uber Elevate – we are voluntarily implementing a safety management system and developing voluntary programs that have yielded proven safety benefits for the aviation industry,” said John Illson, head of aviation safety with Uber Elevate. 

The partnership comes as the airline industry continues to be rocked by the pandemic. Air travel is at a fraction of normal levels due to restrictions and travelers have avoided booking flights to avoid contracting the coronavirus. Major airlines have been forced to lay off employees to survive the economic downturn.

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GE Aviation’s Digital Group will help develop a flight data monitoring program part of Uber Air service launching in 2023. (Uber Elevate) 

Flight Data Monitoring (FDM) is the process of analyzing and reviewing routinely recorded flight data.

Airlines and operators that adopt FDM are better able to identify and eliminate potential safety hazards in flight operations. Since its introduction in the airline industry more than 20 years ago, FDM has been widely credited with reducing incident and accident rates at airlines and aircraft operators where it has been adopted, both companies said in a press release.

The companies said GE Aviation’s Flight Data Monitoring program and industry experience working with some of the world’s largest flight data benchmarking programs made this partnership a natural fit for Uber Elevate.

“Uber Elevates eVTOl ride-sharing program is another groundbreaking milestone in aviation history. The eVTOL aircraft create a new ecosystem for ridesharing, focusing on safety, minimizing noise, and energy efficiency,’ said Bob W. Whetsell, director of safety programs with GE Aviation’s Digital Group.

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Used by hundreds of operators worldwide, Flight Data Monitoring is GE Aviation’s premier service for helping operators understand and improve safety, according to the press release.  

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GE’s patented analytics software fuses meteorological information, navigation data and terrain mapping to identify safety events and measurements on thousands of flights every day.