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Uber unveils flying taxi prototype at Elevate summit

12 May 2018

Uber Technologies Inc has opened up a contest to select a city to launch its proposed flying taxi project.

To do this, NASA will simulate flights in the Dallas-Fort Worth airspace - Dallas and Los Angeles have both agreed to host initial flying Uber tests.

As part of its second annual Elevate Summit, Uber announced that it has entered a partnership with E-One Moli Energy (Moli).

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The company's Uber Air service is set to launch first in Dallas and Los Angeles. Uber's high-flying venture comes against the backdrop of terrestrial problems, from taxi industry pushback in cities such as London to political fallout due to a self-driving vehicle death in Arizona.

Tuesday's Uber Elevate Summit has unveiled the rideshare company's latest plans to venture into the untapped world of air taxis. The company wants the facilities to handle 200 takeoffs and landings per hour, giving a theoretical max of 800 passengers per hour per airport.

When Uber first announced its partnership with NASA, it shared its plans to develop a fleet of low-flying aircrafts for urban environments called UberAIR, which will be implemented as soon as 2020. The two-day conference brings together leaders in the aviation and technology industries as well as government stakeholders that Uber says will help them figure out the safe and right way to deploy uberAIR. It'll also fly at between 1,000 and 2,000 feet and can last up to 60 miles before the electric vehicle's battery needs to be recharged.

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Uber's input is crucial to the UAM project, as all the necessary data regarding traffic scenarios, collision mitigation, and airspace management will be coming from the Elevate project.

Using its knowledge of rider habits and current rider activity, Uber believes it can create an air taxi service that, until now, has been something in sci-fi movies: buzzing drone-like vehicles flying all over the skies. Electrification would also make the vehicle much cheaper to run and maintain, but that's perhaps the biggest problem these vehicles have with becoming reality.

Think your city needs a flying taxi service?

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Khosrowshahi became the CEO of Uber in August after his predecessor, Travis Kalanick, resigned.

Uber unveils flying taxi prototype at Elevate summit