NEWS

Uber Says It Will Start Offering Flying Taxis In 2020

The cars will be small, quiet electric mini-aircraft that take off and land vertically.

25/04/2017 19:32 SAST | Updated 26/04/2017 11:35 SAST
Jean-Paul Pelissier / Reuters
People look at the AeroMobil flying car during its unveiling at the Top Marques Monaco supercar show in Monaco April 20, 2017.

Reuters

U.S. ride-hailing service Uber Technologies expects to deploy flying taxi services in Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas, and Dubai in 2020, Chief Product Officer Jeff Holden said at the Uber Elevate Summit in Dallas.

Uber's flying taxis will be small, electric aircraft that take off and land vertically, or VTOL aircraft, enabling zero operational emissions and quiet enough to operate in cities without disturbing the neighbors.

The company is working with Hillwood Properties to make four vertiports -- VTOL hubs with multiple takeoff and landing pads, and charging infrastructure -- for Uber in Dallas starting next year, Holden said.

Uber has also teamed up with companies such as Bell Helicopter, Aurora, Pipistrel, Mooney and Embraer <EMBR3.SA> to make the flying taxis.

The company, which has partnered with the Dubai government, expects to conduct passenger flights as part of the World Expo 2020 in Dubai.

"What we're doing with them is they're going to be funding studies for demand modeling so that we can deeply understand pricing and network optimization in the Dubai area," Holden said.

Uber is valued at $68 billion and its investors include Goldman Sachs and GV, formerly known as Google Ventures.

The ride-hailing service has recently been rocked by a number of setbacks, including detailed accusations of sexual harassment from a former female employee and a video showing Chief Executive Travis Kalanick harshly berating an Uber driver.