Uber to launch short-haul airborne service

Web Summit: Ride-sharing firm to introduce vertical take-off and landing vehicles

Uber said its short-haul airborne service would help alleviate transportation issues in urban centres.

Uber said its short-haul airborne service would help alleviate transportation issues in urban centres.

 

Uber, the fast-growing ride-sharing company, is proceeding with plans to introduce a new short-haul airborne service that will cost less than driving your own car.

The company’s head of product, Jeff Holden, took to the stage at Web Summit on Wednesday to reveal more details about UberAir and to announce a new air traffic management partnership with Nasa.

Mr Holden said it was in the process of creating a new type of transportation for the air taxi service, which it intends to launch in Los Angeles in 2020, one year after such a service was envisaged in the original Blade Runner movie in 1982.

The company, which has already been trialling a service in Fort Worth, Dallas, said it envisaged it would cost about the same as it does to hail an UberX.

Uber’s plan is to introduce a network of electrical vertical take-off and landing vehicles known as eVTOL. Such transportation would be able to take off and land on top of buildings.

Pointing out that the new service would help to alleviate transportation issues in urban centres, Mr Holden noted that currently Los Angeles has more room for parking spots than for driving.

On stage, Mr Holden showed off a teaser video for one of the company’s flying car concept designs, which will serve as an alternative to helicopters.

The company currently runs a helicopter service in San Francisco known as Uber Chopper. However, Mr Holden said using these on a full-time basis was problematic due to operating costs, safety issues, excessive noise levels and environmental concerns.

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