Uber, US Army ally to test quiet aircraft technology

Eric Allison, the company's head of aviation program, showed a chart indicating that UberAir could conceivably charge $90 for a 29-minute ride between locations that would cost $60 and take 69 minutes using the UberX vehicle service instead.

In November, the company said it was working with NASA to develop a software which could be used to manage flying taxi routes and would work like ride-hailing services that Uber has popularized on the ground.

Ultimately, Uber wants to make its service, to be known as Uber Air, a drone-based system that won't require pilots.

Top U.S. regulators are scheduled to speak at the conference - either in person or via video - including U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao and acting Federal Aviation Administration head Dan Elwell.

"In fact, Uber Elevate has already started exploring the barriers we'll need to overcome to make vertical takeoff and landing a reality and bringing UberAir to Dallas and Los Angeles by 2020".

Uber announced an agreement with NASA to investigate air traffic control issues.

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Uber on Tuesday also released a new prototype for flying taxies at its annual Elevate Summit.

The alliance highlights stepped-up efforts by Uber and other companies to transform flying cars from a science fiction concept to real hardware for residents of mega-cities where driving is a time-consuming bore. The company's white paper lays out the details of its electric vertical take-off and landing idea as well.

An Uber statement stressed safety, comfort, convenience, and efficiency in the eCRM design and operational system. The aircraft's electric batteries will be good for up to 60 miles, but Uber said recharging till take just five minutes, Fortune reported. In the near-term, Uber says it will get the cost down to $1.86 per passenger mile before ideally getting to $0.44 per passenger mile. The vehicles will feature one door on one side of the aircraft to make ground operations easier, according to Wired.

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.

Dallas-Fort Worth and Los Angeles are the first USA metropolitan areas scheduled to have the vehicles lifting off from area skyports, perhaps as early as 2020. Are you ready for that?

  • Douglas Reid