AUSTIN, Texas -- The U.S. Army Research Laboratory and Uber held a kickoff event Aug. 9 to celebrate the cooperative research and development agreement between the two organizations.

Members of Uber, ARL and the University of Texas at Austin attended the event at Darrell K Royal--Texas Memorial Stadium.

ARL and Uber Elevate have identified a joint path to advance technologies for the future of vertical lift.

These include a variety of analyses, testing and technology opportunities like Uber and UT Austin's stacked co-rotating prop-rotor testing effort, which may lead to ground-breaking discoveries to support Army Modernization Priorities.

Initial experimentation of this concept has revealed the potential for stacked co-rotating rotors be significantly quieter than traditional paired rotor approaches and improve performance for a flying craft.

Under this first joint work statement, funding for this research will be shared equally between Uber and the Army's research lab.

ARL attendees and presenters at the kickoff included Dr. Jaret Riddick, director of the Vehicle Technology Directorate, Heidi Maupin, ARL South regional lead, Dr. Rajneesh Singh and Elias Rigas.

According to Riddick, collaboration among the various partners is of great significance to this venture.

"The greatest benefit is collaboration with the eco-system of industry and academic partners associated with Uber Elevate to accelerate development of Army-relevant technology; going from the discovery phase into the hands of the Warfighter faster," Riddick said.

Riddick stated that hosting a kickoff event was a great way to formally launch the relationship between the laboratory and Uber, and to allow face-to-face discussions between the individuals who hope to make their ideas a reality.

"It is a confirmation that ARL is pushing forward the state-of-the-art," Riddick said. "ARL and Uber Elevate subject matter experts have met before at ARL at Aberdeen Proving Ground and at the Elevate Summit in ARL West, but this kickoff is a formal start to the relationship in ARL South that we hope will motivate multiple collaborations on technology of mutual interest that will benefit the future warfighter."

According to Riddick, VTD hopes to continue working with Uber Elevate to quickly spin out exceptional technological advances derived from long-term research objectives to accelerate getting new technology into the hands of the Warfighter faster.

"As this relationship grows, other areas of collaboration across ARL will become a part of the research collaboration to support Army S&T objectives for the multi-domain battlefield of the future," Riddick said.

Maupin fully expects rapid technology advancement to come from the partnerships that have been established between ARL, Uber and UT, she said.

"By working closely with Army technical modeling experts, aeronautical experts from UT who can validate the models and Uber's drive to commercialize the technology, we leverage our best resources to rapidly advance and transition this critical component of Uber Elevate," Maupin said. "This will benefit Uber and commuters who take advantage of a new transportation method, and also benefit the Army by providing an effective means of reconnaissance, surveillance and secure communications that will ultimately lead to enhanced protection of our Soldiers."

Having the kickoff event at UT was both exciting and rewarding for Maupin, she said.

"The fact that the Army Futures Command is establishing presence at UT at Austin and the greater Austin area is an example of how the Army's presence in the community will have a positive impact for everyone," Maupin said. "This sends the positive message in the Austin area that great things will result that are mutually beneficial to society and our military. Our joint collaboration in this area, as well as the many other technical disciplines we partner with in the Texas research communities, will make a positive impact on society and dramatically improve quality of life."


The U.S. Army Research Laboratory is part of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, which has the mission to ensure decisive overmatch for unified land operations to empower the Army, the joint warfighter and our nation. RDECOM is a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Materiel Command.