Uber unveils plans for flying taxis by 2020

Posted April 27, 2017

Later in the conference, Uber announced it had selected Aurora Flight Sciences as a partner to develop so-called electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft for use in its Uber Elevate network.

The BBC noted the technology isn't proven yet, but Uber thinks their flying auto service could cost around the same as their vehicle transportation system.

"If you're not planting the seeds for 5-10 years out, you have no company in five to 10 years", Uber chief product officer Jeff Holden said Tuesday. Uber has been hit with sexual harassment allegations, a lawsuit from Alphabet's Waymo over self-driving vehicle technology, secret deceptive software and a series of executive departures among other controversies.

The World Expo 2020 in Dubai is planned as a venue where the revolutionary taxis will be used for passenger flights as a demonstration of their capabilities. Now, the company says it expects to deploy a network of flying taxis in Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas and Dubai in 2020.

"Just like artificial intelligence, flying cars have been promised for decades but are arriving now", he said on Tuesday.

Concept image of an Airbus A3 Vahana one of the emerging flying vehicles highlighted by Uber in a new White Paper
Uber unveils plans for flying taxis by 2020

When Uber first introduced the concept of ride-hailing, the company single-handedly led a revolution in the transportation industry-one that is still ongoing. The innovation could be transformative in areas pestered by traffic.

The technology is likewise largely unverified.

However interest in the space is heating up. Innovators are racing to capitalize on advances in electric power and artificial intelligence. The startups Kitty Hawk and Zee.Aero, which are separate from Alphabet, are racing to build personal aircrafts similar to those Uber has proposed. The first glimpse of the vehicle backed by Google's co-founder. Rather than creating its own flying machines, it wants to partner with other companies, both for the aircraft and the infrastructure.

The aircraft will be a four- to six-seat air taxi for the intra city market, utilizing Carter's patented Slowed Rotor Compound technology for efficient hover and efficient cruise at 175 miles per hour, and benefitting from Mooney's extensive general aviation experience.

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