Uber has revealed further details about its plans to release a fleet of self-driving flying taxis, ferrying up to four passengers around the skies per vehicle. The flying cars will likely be refueled at the thousands of rooftop "skyports" Uber hopes to erect in cities across the U.S. Those skyports will be able to accommodate 200 liftoffs and landings each hour.
Several other companies along with Uber are trying to develop similar kinds of aerial devices. Uber thinks different. At the Uber Elevate Summit 2018, auto sharing giant showed off a concept of a flying vehicle. Uber's high-flying venture comes against the backdrop of terrestrial problems, from taxi industry pushback in cities such as London to political fallout due to a self-driving auto death in Arizona.
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Wired said that the Uber network would use aircraft made from a variety of manufacturers. It'll take only five minutes to recharge the battery, Uber said. Uber says the service will be cheaper and faster than existing taxi services and address traffic congestion issues. Uber announced it will be working with the Army Research Lab on the new system.
"Uber is proud to be partnering with ARL on critical research on flying vehicle innovations that will help create the world's first urban aviation rideshare network", said Eric Allison, Head of Uber Elevate.
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The flying Uber, seating 4 passengers, is planned to start operations in 2 to 5 years.
In March, Uber's self-driving vehicle program took a hit after one of its Volvo autonomous cars hit and killed a pedestrian in Arizona, an incident that has led to the state's governor revoking Uber's ability to test alongside rival Waymo, which started as Google's self-driving auto division.
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Uber's previously reported on plans would be revolutionary in terms of transportation and urban development, and the company's CEO thinks that going vertical is the way of the future. The Elevate conference continues on Wednesday, and will be streamed live online.