|By Kramer Phillips | 3 years ago|
After upstaging the taxi industry with its ride-hailing service, Uber now wants to take to the sky.
The tech company has announced it plans to deploy its flying taxis in Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas, and Dubai by 2020.
The firm’s flying taxis will be small, electric vehicles that take off and land vertically (VTOL).
The flying taxis will have zero emissions and will be quiet enough to operate in cities.
Uber estimates flying taxis would reduce travel time between San Francisco’s Marina to downtown San Jose to 15 minutes, compared with the more than two hours it takes by road.
According to Chief Product Officer Jeff Holden, in an early scale operation, Uber can earn $1.32 per passenger mile. The earnings are a little higher that taking an UberX for a similar distance.
In the long term, the cab-hailing firm expects the cost of taking flying taxis to fall below car ownership.
Holded revealed Uber is partnering with Hillwood Properties to construct four Vertiports – VOTL hubs with multiple takeoffs and landing pads, and charging infrastructure – in Dallas next year.
The company, valued at $68 billion, has also joined forces with companies such as Bell Helicopter, Aurora, Pipistrel, Mooney, and Embraer to manufacture the flying taxis.
Uber has also partnered with ChargePoint Inc, a U.S electric vehicle charging station maker.
The company is working on developing an exclusive charger for its network.
Uber, which is also partnering with the Dubai government on this initiative, expects to carry out passenger flights as part of the World Expo 2020 in Dubai.
The ride-hailing service first released a 98-page blueprint for its flying taxi last October.
It says the flying taxis could revolutionize commuting.
Uber called the plan UberElevate, and has set 2021 as the ready date.