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Uber says its fleet of flying taxis is just around the corner

09 May 2018
Uber says its fleet of flying taxis is just around the corner

The taxis will be manned by a pilot first with the goal for the planes to eventually fly autonomously. The vehicles resemble helicopters, but are quieter with four prop rotors on each wing and electric propulsion to cut down on emissions.

The company is focusing in on a reference model for the eVTOL aircraft: Multiple electric-driven rotors will provide vertical helicopter-style lift.

Once in the air, the eVTOL will switch over to fixed-wing operation with its airplanelike wings providing lift when moving horizontally and a propeller in the tail providing horizontal thrust up to a cruising speed of about 150 miles per hour (with a top speed of 200 mph). Furthermore, it will be more efficient as well as less expensive.

Uber will share its plans for implementing an urban aviation rideshare network, and NASA will use airspace management computer modeling and simulation to assess the impact of VTOL cargo or passenger taxi drones in crowded environments.

The design is built around the passenger compartment, featuring space for up to four passengers with their personal bags or backpacks.

Future eVTOLs won't just be landing in your driveway.

Imagine summoning a flying taxi instead of a auto using Uber's smartphone app. Uber is hoping to make that happen in the near future and announced today a research partnership with NASA to study manned urban taxis.

The ride-hailing app showcased concept models of its electric flying cars, which will be capable of flying at speeds of between 150 and 200 miles per hour at up to 2,000 feet above the ground, during its annual Elevate summit.

The concept includes "skyports" that would serve as hubs for the aerotaxis.

The service will be tested in 2020 in Los Angeles, Dallas-Fort Worth, and Dubai, and will launch more widely by 2028, Business Insider reported.

While we got a good look at the luxurious interior, other minor details - how Uber will make batteries light enough for aircraft, train enough pilots, get approval to have hundreds of aircraft flying through cities, and design an entirely new air traffic control system - are still missing.