Uber has announced plans to begin demonstrations of its flying taxis by 2020.
During the Uber Elevate summit, the company said its “Vertical Take-Off and Landing vehicles” (VTOLs) will take to the skies in Texas and Dubai by 2020, ahead of a potential commercial roll-out thereafter.
According to the ride-sharing giant, the VTOLs be electric aircraft that can operate with zero emissions and little noise pollution.
“It’s push a button and get a flight,” chief product offers Jeff Holden said during the summit. “We think we can start this for roughly the cost of UberX.” (via MarketWatch)
The company says that the two hour drive between San Francisco and downtown Jose could be cut to 15 minutes via the service, which could be available inside the app alongside UberX or UberPOOL cars.
It reckons the roofs of parking garages could be used to work as “vertipod” and “vertstops” that would aid pick up and drop off, within cities (pictured).
Related: Did Apple threaten to pull Uber app over tracking woes?
Uber is working with NASA, the FAA, the National Air Traffic Control Association as well as authorities in Dallas and Dubai.
The company is also working with a host of manufacturing partners in the aerospace industry, including Aurora Flight Sciences.
“The Uber Elevate mission is all about low noise, high reliability, and low cost,” said Aurora CEO John Langford. “We have already built and flown the first proof-of-concept aircraft and we’re excited to partner with Uber in accelerating the eVTOL initiative.”
The Uber Elevate scheme was first launched in October last year. In a white paper, the company said: “Just as skyscrapers allowed cities to use limited land more efficiently, urban air transportation will use three-dimensional airspace to alleviate transportation congestion on the ground.”
It’s one thing trusting an Uber driver, but would you trust an Uber pilot? Let us know in the comments section below.