Holden said Uber would begin testing proposed four-passenger, 200 miles per hour (322 kph) flying taxi services across Los Angeles in 2020, its second planned test market after Dallas/Fort Worth.
Uber plans to introduce paid, intra-city flying taxi services from 2023 and is working with aviation regulators in the United States and Europe to win approvals toward that end, Holden told Reuters.
"Technology will allow L.A. residents to literally fly over the city's historically bad traffic, giving them time back to use in far more productive ways", said Jeff Holden.
An UberAir journey between Los Angeles' airport and the Staples Center arena, for example, would take 27 minutes - three times less time than the same journey by auto. Science fiction has taught us that the future isn't complete without flying cars, but solving today's problems of urban mobility will probably involve a solution other than simply taking traffic off the streets and moving it into the air above.
NASA is already working on a similar system for unmanned drones, and began testing it a year ago. After her order code is scanned in her cell phone, she gets into an Uber flying taxi, a plane-helicopter hybrid aircraft with fixed wings and tilt prop-rotors. UberAir-the official name of this endeavor-will be tested in Dallas-Fort Worth, Dubai, and Los Angeles. It seems Uber is now counting on its partnership with NASA to alleviate that concern by working with the agency on Unmanned Traffic Management and Unmanned Aerial Systems projects.
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It is now stepping up its efforts to make the project a reality. In February, Bloomberg reported that two former NASA employees, Mark Moore and Tom Prevot, joined Uber to work on aircraft design and traffic management software.
This is the start-up's first partnership with a USA federal government agency.
To pull this off, The Verge reports that the company is investing in developing a custom electric "VTOL"-that stands for vertical take-off and landing-aircraft, which we haven't even seen so much as a prototype of yet". By the way, technically, such a vehicle would be more plane than auto.
"At scale, we expect UberAir will perform tens of thousands of flights each day across the city".
Flying taxis sound like a futuristic idea, but Uber wants to test the idea in Los Angeles by 2020.