Thursday, 27 April 2017

Uber Plans To Launch A Flying Taxi Service in 3yrs, With Cars Taking Off Landing Vertically

Uber is diving head-first into the race to create a flying car, shedding more light on its plans for a vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) vehicle.

At a conference yesterday, the company said it’s entered into new partnerships with established and emerging aeronautics players like Aurora Flight Sciences, Embraer, Bell Helicopter, Pistrel Aircraft, Mooney and ChargePoint. Uber Elevate, as the project is called, will focus its efforts on the markets in Dallas in the US and Dubai.

The Elevate Network is Uber’s project to set up an on-demand ride-hailing service in the sky. A fleet of electric-powered vehicles, capable of taking off vertically, and cutting down ride times from 30 minutes to just five. To do this, Uber’s new partners will be providing the technological requirements to develop these airborne taxis.

In fact, Uber has even set a timeline for its pet project, indicating it plans to demonstrate the Uber Elevate Network for the first time at the 2020 World Expo in Dubai. 

However, Uber is going to have step on the gas if it wants to get in on the action early enough to make a profit. Other entrants into the VTOL space have already begun development, including the likes of Lillium Aviation, which plans to eventually offer local air commutes for as low as $6.

To that end, Uber says that it’s already collaborating with the Dubai Road and Transport Authority, to fund studies analysing optimal routes for in the city for these air taxis, as well as what standard rates should be.

With other partnerships in place, the major thing the company has to worry about now is keeping its act together long enough for the technology to gestate. But knowing the company’srecent history, that might be tougher to do than they think.