Believe it or not, ride-hailing service Uber Technologies Inc. is planning to venture on on-demand aviation and will soon test a network of flying electric taxis by 2020.
Trials of “UberAIR” Service will be conducted in Dallas City in the US and Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. The company aims to offer a flying taxi that’s quicker, more environmentally-friendly and will one day be cheaper than ordering rides from four wheeled land-based versions today.
Uber hopes to make the flying taxi service available to customers by 2023.
Uber’s chief product officer Jeff Holden said during the Uber Elevate Summit in Dallas held last Tuesday:
“Urban aviation is a natural next step for Uber in this pursuit, which is why we are working to make ‘push a button, get a flight’ a reality.”
According to Holden, the flying taxis will be able to take off and land vertically without emissions and quietly transfer passengers across cities and on their commutes. In fact, it has teamed up with a lot of companies to work on the new technology that will represent the “pinnacle of urban mobility”.
Uber is currently working with Hillwood Properties for the development of four vertiports that will serve as takeoff and landing pads. It has also partnered with a number of aircraft manufacturers like Bell Helicopter and Embraer to produce vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft.
“We’re turning it into something we think will be a daily phenomenon.People are wasting an insane amount of time in their cars,” Holden explained.
Recently, the ride-hailing service valued at $68 billion faced a number of scandals such as accusations of sexual harassment from a former female driver as well as the emergence of a controversial video showing Chief Executive Travis Kalanick harshly criticizing an Uber driver.
Just this week, Apple threatened to take away the Uber app from the iPhone’s App store after it was discovered that the said app was tagging iPhones in breach of Apple’s policies.