As highlighted in a segment on CBS This Morning, Uber's prototype looks a lot like the concept sketches the company shared publicly past year. When Uber hired Mark Moore, a former NASA advanced aviation engineer, to lead Uber Elevate engineering in early 2017, the flying taxi service crossed the line from speculation to a still-undefined but possible future project.
Uber wants to start testing its air transportation service, Uber Elevate, by 2020 in Los Angeles, Dallas, and Dubai.
A video that the company released past year shows passengers arriving at a heliport on top of a building and taking a ride on one of the taxi drones.
"We are relentless in our quest for constant growth and through EmbraerX we will drive exponential innovation in the company and accelerate the creation of new businesses that add value to Embraer", said Paulo Cesar Silva, CEO of Embraer.
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Uber on Tuesday also released a new prototype for flying taxies at its annual Elevate Summit. An additional vertical propeller in the back provides forward thrust.
To make uberAIR a reality, Uber has entered into partnerships with several highly experienced aircraft manufacturers who are developing electric VTOL vehicles including: Aurora Flight Sciences (now a subsidiary of Boeing), Pipistrel Aircraft, Embraer and Bell.
"These concepts are neutral ground that Uber has put together, so we can share insights with all our partners."
Imagine summoning a flying taxi instead of a vehicle using Uber's smartphone app. Uber is hoping to make that happen in the near future and announced today a research partnership with NASA to study manned urban taxis. "Finally, point of entry into the eCRMs is limited to one side, simplifying ground crew operations and reducing confusion for riders when they approach their eVTOL vehicle".
The prototypes are all-electric, and will seat four passengers plus the pilot. In DFW, the company is working with Hillwood Properties to build vertical skyports and also has called upon Fort Worth-based Bell to develop the vehicles.