US-based ride-hailing service Uber Technologies has announced that its expecting to be in a position to be able to deploy its 'flying' taxis by 2020. The company which has had endured a number of setbacks in recent months - also revealed the two cities in which the 'flying taxis' will first be deployed in.
Chief Product Officer, Jeff Holden told attendees at the Uber Elevate Summit in Dallas that the revolutionary electric aircrafts will be deployed in Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas and Dubai. He also stated that he strongly feels the aircrafts will be deployed in both cities by 2020. Some industry analysts are predicting the revolutionary technology provided by Uber to be the long-term solution to solving the growing problem of urban congestion in major cities all over the world.
Uber's electric aircraft will be small in size - and it has been further disclosed that the 'flying taxis' that take off and land vertically. They have been designed to have zero emissions and will be quiet enough to operate in cities. Uber also claimed that it would significantly reduce travel time - and stated that it would only take 15 minutes for a 'flying taxi' to reach San Jose from San Francisco's Marina, the average journey between these two destinations by car is two hours.
The company also revealed that following early scale operation it has determined that a passenger can get to $1.32 per passenger mile, which is in line with what you would get with an UberX for a similar distance. Holden outlined Uber's long-term strategy and disclosed that it expects the cost of 'flying taxis' to fall below car ownership.
Uber is working with Hillwood Properties in relation to developing four vertiports, VTOL hubs that will have multiple take-off, landing pads and charging infrastructure in Dalls. The construction of this project is expected to get underway in Dallas. Uber, which is valued at $68bn - has collaborated with companies such as Bell Helicopter, Aurora, Pipistrel, Mooney and Embraer to make flying taxis.
The under-fire company partnered with the Dubai government for the World Expo 2020 in Dubai - and it expects to conduct passenger flights as part of the Expo. The announcement is finally some good news for Uber - the organization 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.