Uber flags future of flying taxis with flashy new concepts

Uber flags future of flying taxis with flashy new concepts

Uber claims it's moving forward with a plan straight out of the Jetsons.

Uber aims to speed development of a new industry of electric, on-demand, urban air taxis, which customers might order up via smartphone much the way it has popularised ground-based taxi alternatives since it first launched in 2011.

As part of the project, Uber will share details of its plans for an urban aviation ridesharing service. Under the agreement, signed today, Uber and the United States military are to carry out a $1 million research project in an army lab. There should also be a large airport nearby that takes people more than one hour to get to and from the city center due to distance and other constraints like traffic.

"What 2020 is for is demonstrator flights".

This opportunity is open to any city outside the US where there is a desire for a dramatic improvement in transportation and conditions are conducive to urban air mobility. The officials have said they will be safer than choppers.

While Uber and NASA are hoping to commercially launch the flying service in 2023, trials are set to commence as early as 2020. The announcement came at a company conference in Los Angeles this week (Financial Times, may be behind paywall). Big aerospace companies including Bell, Embraer, Boeing and others are working on prototype designs. By setting up a system of skyports around cities - starting with LA and Dallas - Uber believes it can create a network of flights that could shuttle riders around safely.

"For me the aha moment came when I started understanding that Uber isn't just about cars", Khosrowshahi said.

Interested governments can go to uber.com/air to learn more and contact the Uber Elevate team by July 1, 2018.

"The eCRM design is pedestrian friendly, as the propeller blades are as high as possible, leaving ample room for individuals to board and de-plane without having to duck", Uber said on Tuesday in a statement. The event - held for the first time in Dallas a year ago - brings together vehicle manufacturers, regulators, investors, technology suppliers, and federal & local policy makers to explore the future of urban aviation.



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