Uber expects flying taxis to take off in 2020

Concept image of a Joby S2 one of the emerging flying vehicles highlighted by Uber in a new White Paper

Uber expects flying taxis to take off in 2020

NY [U.S.], April 26 (ANI): Uber is literally aiming for the skies as the tech company announced that it has struck partnerships with the cities of Dallas and Dubai to demonstrate a network of flying cars by 2020. Uber first announced its plan for flying cars previous year with a "on demand aviation" service called Uber Elevate. "Flying cars have been promised for decades, but are arriving now", he said, staking out the company's aggressive goal to make flying cars a reality. Startups in the Netherlands and Slovakia are both taking deposits for flying cars that are being built and Massachussett's-based Terrafugia is working on a VTOL aircraft that won't require a full pilot's license (Yikes).

VTOLs are frequently referred to as flying cars, but they are effectively battery-operated helicopters - and potentially much quieter and cheaper than the gas-powered kind.

In an early scale operation, the company can get to $1.32 per passenger mile, a little higher than taking an UberX for a similar distance, Holden said.

Last year, the Federal Aviation Administration granted an exemption to the Terrafugia Transition to be classified as a "light sport aircraft", marking the first step toward legalizing commercial flying cars. The company's motivation is understandable given that its flying taxi vision is definitely not about a science fiction vehicle that can go from driving on roads to flying in the air. Uber has partnered with ChargePoint to develop VTOL charging solutions throughout the network. "I dream of a day when anyone - not just highly trained pilots - can safely operate a flying vehicle and experience the excitement that we're aiming for with Kitty Hawk". Uber will partner in these cities to help find areas in which they could install takeoff and landing pads, which Uber is calling "vertiports".

The partnership agreement provides the basis for a system of urban transportation solutions that will enable users of the Uber Elevate Network to request an Aurora eVTOL aircraft via Uber's computer or mobile software applications.

"Several areas still need further research and development", he wrote, "particularly the operational aspects of making sure the automation that will "fly" the autonomous aircraft is safe, and how the automation will interact with the air traffic control system".

Despite a history as a fixed-wing aircraft developer, Embraer's Business Innovation Center in Melbourne, Florida, also announced a preliminary partnership with Uber to explore the development of small electric VTOL aircraft for short commutes. Larry Page, co-founder of Google, has personally invested in two secretive flying auto companies, ZeeAero and Kitty Hawk.

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