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Published: Wed, May 09, 2018
Research | By Jennifer Evans

Uber Flying Taxi Launch Only 2 Years Away, Company Says

Uber Flying Taxi Launch Only 2 Years Away, Company Says

In the race to deploy autonomous driving technology to chauffeur passengers wherever they might go by road, Uber's Elevate division is also looking to gain an edge in the air by becoming the first company to bring similar self-driving technology to its fleet of flying taxis as early as 2020.

The company, which is hosting its second Uber Elevate summit in Los Angeles showed off the newest renderings of its planned sky taxis. The flying uber can take-off and land vertically thanks to four rotors.

"We want to create the network around those vehicles so that regular people can take these taxis in the air for longer distances when they want to avoid traffic at affordable prices", Khosrowshahi told CBS.

Uber is working with a range of aerospace partners to develop the eVTOL aircraft, including Boeing subsidiary Aurora Flight Sciences, Embraer and Bell.

Imagine summoning a flying taxi instead of a auto using Uber's smartphone app. Uber is hoping to make that happen in the near future and announced today a research partnership with NASA to study manned urban taxis.

Uber Elevate taxis will be requested via mobile phones, just as rides through the Uber transportaiton service are now, Khosrowshahi said in an interview on television today.

"The new space act agreement broadening Uber's partnership with NASA is exciting, because it allows us to combine Uber's massive-scale engineering expertise with NASA's decades of subject matter experience across multiple domains that are key to enabling urban air mobility, starting with airspace systems", said Jeff Holden, Uber's chief product officer. I shouldn't have to explain the benefits of improved efficiency for a flying electric vehicle; it's a huge factor for battery and recharge cycle management.

In a press release, Uber said the number and placement of rotors will make eVTOL vehicles safer and quieter than traditional helicopters.

He also addressed Uber's sexual-harassment issues, which led to last year's ouster of Uber's previous CEO, Travis Kalanick. Its autonomous auto program has stalled, following a fatal collision with a pedestrian in March.

The passenger cost per mile, Allison said, needs to be competitive with the variable cost of auto ownership. The first two Uber Air cities will be Dallas and Los Angeles.

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