I don’t think I’m alone when I say that I’ve never heard of Embraer. Most Americans probably haven’t, unless they’re aviation buffs or play close attention to in-flight announcements. A huge player internationally, the Brazilian company makes aircraft for commercial, private, military, and agricultural use.
At the Uber Elevate Summit in 2017, the ride-share giant announced a partnership with the Brazilian airplane maker to produce an electric VTOL (vertical takeoff and landing) vehicle. This is what during the Jetsons age would’ve been called a flying car. A mere year later, in 2018, a skunkworks arm of the aviation company unveiled the Embraer X DreamMaker concept.
Calling an Uber in the Future
The DreamMaker is a four-seat VTOL, designed to serve as a ride-share vehicle in an urban environment. Among the current crop of VTOL concepts, the DreamMaker is the one that most resembles a conventional helicopter.
Eight vertically oriented electric motors mounted on top of the DreamMaker enable vertical take off, hover and landing capability. Meanwhile, a tail fan propeller located at the back of the vehicle propels the DreamMaker forward once it’s at an altitude of 1,000 feet or higher.
While other details and specs were scarce – there was no word on range, speed, or other capabilities – Embraer says the DreamMaker will be fully operational by 2023. Given the company’s success within the commercial aviation segment, there’s no doubt that Embraer’s 50 years of aviation experience will ultimately translate into a working VTOL vehicle.