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Good Design
UberAir Skyport, 2018
UberAir Skyport, 2018

Designers: Gannett Fleming, Piscataway, New Jersey, USA
Manufacturer: Uber Technologies, Inc., San Francisco, California, USA

With a bold vision to improve communities and reshape our cities, Gannett Fleming designed an entirely new approach to transportation infrastructure that makes Uber’s revolutionary idea of on-demand urban air transport possible. Gannett Fleming’s design concept for UberAir offers a safe place for passengers to access electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft for their daily commutes, which will alleviate traffic congestion on the ground, reduce travel times, and give people more time. Gannett Fleming’s concept was unveiled in May at the 2018 Uber Elevate Summit and emerged as one of the top three finalists in the Uber Elevate Skyport Challenge.

Urban Mobility of Today and Tomorrow: Gannett Fleming’s design focuses on the PAW module, which features circular pads that support eVTOL landings, takeoffs, and aircraft charging. Pads are enhanced with a wire-guided robot that captures the aircraft’s front landing gear, lifts the gear inches off the tarmac, and rotates the vehicle 180 degrees, enabling efficient movement to and from the final approach area. A single PAW can safely support 52 eVTOL arrivals and departures per hour, while a quad-Paw approach can accommodate 208 eVTOLs per hour. The Paw’s modular design allows it to be replicated as needed for the size of the space and seamlessly integrated with existing infrastructure, such as on the top of buildings and parking garages, to accommodate both high- and low-demand areas. The Paw’s circular pads were inspired by the beauty of nature, embracing how dragonflies use lily pads as landing platforms.

Innovation & Design Excellence: The zenith of the concept is SKYPORT by Gannett Fleming—a four-story, free-standing transportation hub with a 1.3-acre footprint. SKYPORT features a quad-PAW configuration at the top level, as well as integration with public transportation and autonomous vehicle storage and charging. It includes a living wall and structural elements that pierce the building skin to ease the transition from outside to inside space, while introducing the calming effects of a natural resource in a built environment. The prominent use of daylighting techniques reduces the need for artificial lighting inside the structure. An intuitive, color-coded wayfinding system leads passengers through the SKYPORT swiftly and easily. On the tarmac, illuminated walkways safely guide passengers to and from the aircraft.

Environmentally Conscious: SKYPORT’s takeoff and landing area is surrounded by sound walls with overlapping acoustic baffles to let the wind pass through, effectively minimizing noise migration to passengers and the surrounding community. Batteries that can be charged from grid or solar power are used to recharge the aircraft, reducing environmental impacts. Although conceptual, the SKYPORT can be built with materials available today, making it a practical and realistic solution.

Gannett Fleming leveraged a multidiscipline team of engineers, architects, and technology experts to develop the Paw and SKYPORT concepts. Their diversified experience created a solution that addresses pressing society challenges, including congestion, poor air quality, inefficiency, and resource scarcity, and offers a path to improve mobility and quality of life for all.


Good Design
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