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Uber Elevate plans to test its Flying Taxis by 2020

Ride hailing company Uber has revealed that it is planning to begin testing Flying Taxis by the year 2020. The company envisages a future where its air taxis will make it easier and faster for its commuters to get around. Uber Elevate aims to build an on-demand network of electric-powered vehicles that take-off and land vertically. Uber claims that using UberAIR will be a more direct and faster way of travelling. Now the company has been given permission to begin tests in Los Angeles by 2020.

UberAIR: The Future of Urban Travel?

Uber-Elevate-eVTOL

If flying cars seem like a futuristic idea that is still far away, it would seem that Uber has other ideas.  Self-driving cars are still only in their testing stage, but Uber is already planning beyond autonomous land-based vehicles. Named Uber Elevate, the network of flying taxis is set to begin testing soon. In fact, hiring for positions on the project is already open.  And with the company planning to offer a full service in 2020, test flight should begin soon.

This is not the first time the company has been involved in such a project and its flying taxi plans have been public knowledge for a while. Initially, Uber collaborated in a flying taxi test that was carried out in Dubai. Not much has been heard of the project since. However, the latest announcement shows the company is serious about pursuing airborne taxis.

Uber’s current business model is based on a vehicle ride-hailing model. For the company, cutting out the human element from both its road and air taxis would be hugely profitable. Tests of self driving cars by several companies including Uber continue, albeit slowly as regulation remains a challenge. At the same time, not many companies are currently developing flying cars. However, with the help of the forward looking authorities in L.A. it would seem Uber is now one step closer to achieving that goal.

The Same, Only Better

Uber Elevate - UberAIR

By its own calculations, UberAIR claims commuters will be better off when using its flying taxis. The company’s research shows that an UberAIR ride would be similar in cost to using its premium service UberX. Likewise, the research found that a trip that takes a car around 90 minutes would only take 30 by flying taxi. The company claims that its service will result in “quicker daily commutes, less traffic congestion, and cleaner air around the world.”

Those are some encouraging claims that Uber has drawn from its stats. Ultimately, they could be the biggest benefits for urban travel in future cities. You can see an example of an UberAIR route in the image provided by the company above.

Uber’s plans include a number of partnerships to help its service get off the ground. Literally. First off will be the landing and take-off hubs for its flying taxi network. The first company to sign on to the project is Sandstone Properties, one of  the biggest property management companies in L.A. Other partners include aircraft manufacturers such as Bell Helicopter, Aurora Flight Sciences, and Pipistrel Aircraft.

In conclusion, the direction Uber is taking with flying vehicles seems to be the right one. By taking advantage of the space above our cities, the company can make a big change to urban travel. Autonomous cars have been touted as being able to reduce congestion and pollution, but flying ones may just be the answer. In addition, flying taxis have the advantage of cutting journey times too. Other advantages include not having to travel on a fixed route. That eliminates the likelihood of congestion.

All that is true in theory, and hopefully flying Taxi will become a reality of future transportation.


Also published on Medium.

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