Uber reveals flying taxi prototype and aims for 2023 launch

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As part of the pact, the ride-hailing company will share data related to its efforts to build flying taxis in 2020 for the development of NASA's urban air mobility (UAM) program. The appeal of a stacked co-rotating system is that it is much quieter than traditional systems. If one rotor fails, the others will continue to operate for a safe landing.

"The eCRM design is pedestrian friendly, as the propeller blades are as high as possible, leaving ample room for individuals to board and de-plane without having to duck", Uber said on Tuesday in a statement. Uber plans the first demonstration flights for Los Angeles in 2020 and commercialisation of the flying taxis in 2023, saying these could be ordered on demand just like a ridesharing vehicle.

Initially, the partnership between NASA and Uber centered on general modeling and simulations, but the pair have now signed another deal that applies this to real-world airspace. Uber had previously announced Dubai as its third launch city but has now reopened the selection process for cities that may be more in need of the service.

Dallas and Los Angeles were previously announced as the first two launch cities, and Uber is now seeking an global city as the third partner.

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Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, who has been at the helm for less than one year, admitted he wasn't initially 100 percent on board for Elevate, he said at the Uber Elevate Summit.

Uber expects the airborne taxi service will cost the same as an Uber Black over the same distance but once the service has enough passengers, it will decrease to UberX rates for the same trip. Aesthetically, they resemble drones more than your typical auto, hoisting four propellers that will allow the vehicle to take to the skies.

Uber Technologies reopened a contest on Wednesday to select the first global city to launch its proposed flying taxi project, following apparent delays in getting the service off the ground in Dubai, a previously proposed market.

The company plans to produce thousands of short-range, electric-powered aircraft, which it says will be piloted by humans at first, but eventually fly autonomously (The Verge).