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

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

By Eric NewcomerUber Technologies Inc. announced a partnership to study urban manned aircraft in conjunction with the USA space agency NASA, following a partnership previous year that focused on unmanned drones.

The Uber Elevate summit announced that NASA has been recruited to handle the urban aircraft technology that would be needed to pull this feat off, and the US Army will reportedly be researching rotor technology.

The flying taxis, which takeoff vertically and land at ports on rooftops or on the ground, will fly between 1,000 to 2,000 feet above ground at speeds up to 200 miles per hour, according to an Uber white paper.

An Uber statement stressed safety, comfort, convenience, and efficiency in the eCRM design and operational system. Analysis of these simulations will identify safety issues as these new aircraft take to the air in an already crowded air traffic control system. "The high placement of the wings provides shaded entry into the cabin, shielding riders from light rain as they board". The vehicles will feature one door on one side of the aircraft to make ground operations easier, according to Wired. The company said testing will begin in 2020, with Dallas-Fort Worth and Los Angeles as the first test sites. Passengers will sit in the middle of the aircraft and up front, and a pilot will carry the passengers (up to a maximum of four) to their destinations.

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Embraer X's first eVTOL concept unveiled today is the outcome of extensive interaction with potential urban air travelers about their desired experience, combined with the expertise of Embraer's teams and the collaboration with various companies and institutions.

Uber is one of several companies, including aircraft makers Boeing and Airbus and the Kitty Hawk venture backed by Alphabet Inc co-founder Larry Page, that are investing in the concept of small, automated and electrified aircraft that could be used to ferry passengers or cargo across congested cities.

In late 2017, Uber Elevate released a teaser video for UberAir that featured this claim: "The reality of urban air transportation is closer than you think".

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