Uber Flying Cars Yes Uber Started Testing Flying Cars

Uber Flying Cars Yes Uber Started Testing Flying Cars

In a move that sounds suspiciously like it was crafted to take the focus off Uber's many, many, many PR problems, the ride-hailing company reckons it'll have flying taxis by 2020.

The summit was organised to specifically discuss the possibility of electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft being used as flying taxis in the smart cities of the future.

The major transportation company strongly believes that investing in flying cars is essential to protecting its business, and explained its vision of full-scale operations of a flying auto network launching in 2023. The company that changed the taxi industry for only a couple of years plans to deploy its first flying taxis (no, not a joke) by the end of the decade.

Five MIT graduates founded Terrafugia in 2006. Their proof of concept vehicle was first flown and driven in 2009
Five MIT graduates founded Terrafugia in 2006. Their proof of concept vehicle was first flown and driven in 2009

Uber is working with Volvo and Daimler for its road-based automated auto technology, but it's not clear if it'll be working with other partners for its air vehicles.

Uber's goal is to have the first demonstration network in place in Dubai for the 2020 World Expo in that city, and another pilot in Dallas the same year ahead of "full-scale operations" in the Texas region by 2023.

The initiative dubbed the Uber Elevate Network envisions scenarios where computers would be able to fly vehicles from San Francisco to San Jose in about 15 minutes at the same pricing that Uber X rides are priced for the same duration.

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But Uber customers have said the plan seems more science fiction than science fact. The company also needs to develop a VTOL charger for the Uber Elevate Network so has partnered with ChargePoint for this to happen. The innovation could be transformative in areas pestered by traffic.

The technology is also largely unproven.

But interest in the space is heating up.

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In the longer term, the company expects the cost of taking flying taxis to fall below vehicle ownership. Innovators are racing to capitalize on advances in electric power and artificial intelligence. On Monday, aerospace startup Kitty Hawk unveiled its long-awaited flying auto. Google co-founder Larry Page has a Mountain View startup called Kitty Hawk led by Sebastian Thrun, who launched Google's self-driving efforts.

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