After helping to pioneer peer-to-peer ride hailing and working to bring self-driving cars to the road, Uber's next step will take it to a place where it won't need roads.
Uber Technologies announced a partnership to study urban manned aircraft in conjunction with the US space agency NASA, following a partnership a year ago that focused on unmanned drones.
Uber thinks different. At the Uber Elevate Summit 2018, vehicle sharing giant showed off a concept of a flying auto. Stacked co-rotating rotors have never been used on an existing flying craft before and Uber along with the Army's research lab expect to split a combined $1 million in funding to research the technology.
Uber had a lot to say about passenger and pedestrian safety in a statement issued on May 8, the day before Elevate Summit 2018 began.More news: Rajasthan keep play-off hopes alive
Goel said the all-electric flyer can achieve speeds over 300 kilometers (200 miles) an hour with a range of 100 kilometers (60 miles) on a battery charge. The blades are high enough so that riders don't have to duck, and all riders enter from one side to avoid confusion, said Uber engineers. Initial flights will have human pilots, but Uber Elevate's grand plan envisions pilotless light planes winging passengers from pickup to destination.
The company plans to roll out UberAIR in Dallas-Fort Worth and Los Angeles in 2023, with testing in those cities beginning in 2020.
Like the company's cab-hailing service, customers would request a flying vehicle using its app.
Like all concept cars, the design that Embraer debuted today may look different once it hits the air. Under this agreement, Uber will share its unique UAM requirements based on their future operational concept for the world's first urban aviation's rideshare network, and NASA will use the latest airspace management modeling and simulation algorithms to assess the impacts of integrating UAM operations in an urban environment.
Flying cars have attracted the attention of other technology companies.