Uber Flying Taxi Launch Only 2 Years Away, Company Says

This is the first look at Uber's air taxi concept

Uber has revealed a prototype for an electric flying taxi ahead of its Uber Elevate Summit in Los Angeles, CBS News first reported. NASA will use the latest in airspace management computer modeling and simulation to assess the impacts of small aircraft - from delivery drones to passenger aircraft with vertical take-off and landing capability - in crowded environments. Stacked co-rotating rotors have never been used on an existing flying craft before and Uber along with the Army's research lab expect to split a combined $1 million in funding to research the technology.

"One of the key tenets of this technology is for us to have four riders in each vehicle".

"Achieving ultra-low noise is one of the critical obstacles" to deploying aerial taxis in urban areas, Rob McDonald, head of vehicle engineering for Uber Elevate, the company's flying auto operation, said in an interview. After botching its attempt to lead the shift toward autonomous cars, the ride-hailing company appears to have doubled down on its even bigger ambition to avoid street-level traffic altogether.

Uber already has a partnership with NASA, the USA government space agency, to develop software for managing large numbers of aircraft over cities, Moore said.

Putting a date on the plans, Uber said Dallas, Dubai, and Los Angeles would all have uberAIR flying vehicles overhead by 2020. Jeff Holden, Uber's chief product officer, explained the flying taxi lifts off much like a helicopter but has two additional rotors to help it move forward.

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Uber has been working on a flying auto concept for quite some time. In the wake of that fatality, Uber suspended its self-driving tests nationwide.

Uber and the Army's Research, Development and Engineering command said in a statement.

"Uber is proud to be partnering with ARL on critical research on flying vehicle innovations that will help create the world's first urban aviation rideshare network", said Eric Allison, head of Uber Elevate.

Khosrowshahi became the CEO of Uber in August after his predecessor, Travis Kalanick, resigned. Khosrowshahi was brought over from his previous job as the CEO of Bellevue, Wash. -based Expedia to take Kalanick's place.

"Ambition is what has created this company from the very beginning", Khosrowshahi said. "The change didn't start with me".

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