Uber plans to launch flying taxi demo by 2020


Taxi-hailing app Uber has announced plans to introduce a flying taxi service in just three year’s time.

Uber Elevate would feature electric vehicles capable of vertical take-off and landing, with app users able to book a ride at the push of a mobile phone button.

Teaming up with aircraft manufacturers as well as an electric car charger firm, the service would initially launch in Dallas and Dubai by 2020.

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The flying taxi would be able to navigate cities and avoid congested streets

Uber’s chief product officer Jeff Holden said: “Urban Aviation is a natural next step for Uber in this pursuit, which is why we are working to make ‘push a button, get a flight’ a reality.”

The firm are “targeting long-term pricing” in an attempt to apply the same competitive fees to its flying service as it does to its Uber cars.

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The big selling point of an urban air network is the fact it would be able to navigate busy cities while avoiding congested streets.

It is also being touted by the company as way to help cut emissions by reducing traffic on roads.

If successful, Uber would then move towards full-scale operations in other countries.

The company previously offered a helicopter taxi service to the stars at Cannes Film Festival in 2015 – UberCopter – which ferried festival goers to and from parties.

A seven-minute flight in the UberCopter cost £115 per person for a maximum of six people, including an Uber ride in Cannes.

The company hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons earlier this year when Uber chief executive Travis Kalanick was forced to apologise after video emerged of him getting into an ill-tempered argument with one of the company’s drivers about falling pay rates.

Other recent scandals to rock the app include allegations of sexual harassment by a former female engineer, high profile management problems resulting in the departure of several senior executives, and an unsuccessful court battle in the UK over English tests for drivers.

The company was also forced to suspend its self-driving car programme last month after a crash involving one of its vehicles in Arizona.

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