Here's what Uber wants its flying taxis to look like

Terry Joseph
May 9, 2018

Uber unveiled models of its flying taxi Tuesday at its Uber Elevate Summit in Los Angeles.

Uber wants to start testing its air transportation service, Uber Elevate, by 2020 in Los Angeles, Dallas, and Dubai.

The CEO says Uber Air passengers will be able to request a trip via its smartphone app, then head to designated rooftop takeoff and landing sites for the ride.

The overhead rendering of the concept aircraft showed a blended wing body without any visible rotors for vertical lift, a design that is much different from the lift-and-cruise concepts put forward by competitors presenting at the Uber Elevate conference, such as Embraer.

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Its insurance and utility businesses typically account for more than half of the company's net income. The questions at the meeting always include a few focused more on life lessons than investing.

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi told CBS This Morning that he'd like the taxis to accommodate four passengers to help make them affordable for "normal people".

Known as eCRM-003, the latest concept showcases technology being considered by Uber and developed by partner companies. 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.

Uber's chief product officer, Jeff Holden, said the program is meant to be "community friendly". Early iterations will be piloted but eventually, Uber aims to let the aircraft fly autonomously. And, most recently, the passenger drone startup SureFly succeeded in flying its autonomous two-seater helicopter just three days ago. I shouldn't have to explain the benefits of improved efficiency for a flying electric vehicle; it's a huge factor for battery and recharge cycle management. Last year, San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera's office released a finding estimating that 45,000 Uber and Lyft drivers are operating in the city, leading to gridlock caused by the extra vehicles.

While Khosrowshahi is focused on the future, the company is still navigating a troubled past including a March accident involving a self-driving Uber with a safety driver behind the wheel that killed a pedestrian. After the initial jokes about what to call a potential ridesharing air transportation service, the concept spurred discussion of the practicality and challenges of flying cars. "We want to get back on the road but we want to be safe when we get back on the road".

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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