Uber is one ambitious company planning to make Uber flying taxi a reality. At the Web Summit in Lisbon, the company announced that they would start testing flying taxis in Los Angeles by 2020. This would be their second test site after Dallas.
This American city is the most congested in the world and Uber predicts to deeply integrate their flying taxies with LA’s transport by 2028 Olympics, according to a Forbes report.
But we wouldn’t want to see them flying here and there without any synchronization, right?. There would a need for something like an ATC for flying taxies. That’s why Uber has announced a deal with the NASA to create an autonomous software that would be used to route flying taxies. The software is dubbed Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) Traffic Management, UTM for short.
Uber’s project called Elevate will introduce a drone-like electric air taxi with a capacity to board four passengers at once. Currently, it is known that the taxi would be able to fly around 60 miles on a single charge. But it would take just four minutes to recharge it. Hopefully, the range might increase at the time of the launch.
With a cruising speed of 150-200 mph (214-321 Km/hr), Uber estimates a 15-minute travel time from San Fransisco’s Mariana to Downtown, San Joe which currently takes around more than two hours by road.
Further, Uber VTOL-capable (Vertical Take-Off And Landing) would eliminate the need for runways, just like the helicopters. However, a significant hurdle in getting these Uber flying taxis in the air is the green signal from aviation authorities in the US. The company is working on that. A Reuters report related to the story says the company plans to launch paid intra-city taxis by 2023.
You can read more about Uber’s flying taxis in their detailed white paper. What are your views on Uber Elevate? Drop them in the comments.