Uber Says Flying Taxis Just A Few Years Away

11 May, 2018, 10:05 | Author: Earnest Bishop
  • Design models of Uber's flying taxi.
               CBS News

Uber just revealed a "flying car" prototype at its second annual Uber Elevate Summit.

"Urban air mobility could revolutionise the way people and cargo move in our cities and fundamentally change our lifestyle much like smart phones have", Shin said.

"Space Act Agreement" is signed by the 2 firms, an instrument that enables NASA to function with third parties that assist it to progress its undertaking.

As small aircraft enter the marketplace, NASA wants to ensure they do so safely, with acceptable levels of noise, and without burdening the current national air traffic control system. Airbus and Boeing are already there, developing concept vehicles through subsidiaries.

"Push a button, get a flight", Uber Chief Product Officer Jeff Holden told the crowd of about 700 attendees. Aurora said it is focusing on autonomous technology. Set to be powered by fuel, these taxis will be cheaper, quieter and more efficient to run than traditional modes of airborne transport.

The goal is to make Dallas among the first cities in the world to take Uber passengers from the curb to the cockpit and back by 2023. But questions remain about how they will guarantee safety. Suffice it to say, such vehicles would be impressive if built, but Uber has no intention of doing the building. It will basically have a cylindrical body that can seat up to four people, five when including the driver/pilot, which all flying taxis under its banner will have. The eight-year-old company is still not profitable. In addition, regulations for flying taxis are still murky, including what part of the FAA guidelines it falls under.

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However, their woes aren't quite over: An Uber auto-driving vehicle struck and killed a pedestrian in Tempe, Arizona in March.

The company is also working to rehabilitate its image.

Meanwhile, many skeptics question the ambitious decision to go to the air by Uber, only months after the resignation of former-CEO Travis Kalanick in August 2017 amidst allegations of a corporate culture of sexual harassment. As Khosrowshahi put it, "Uber can't just be about cars". And if we fail at that, we will fail at a company.

A spokeswoman was quoted as saying: "Dubai has previously expressed an interest in (Uber's) vision but we are broadening the pool given interest from other cities which is why we have launched this criteria and process", adding that talks with Dubai will continue.

The air taxi plan of Uber is a bit vague to this point. This summit comes nearly six months after the company announced that Los Angeles will be the first city in the United States for the launch of UberAIR.

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