A passenger mile is expected to be only slightly more expensive than the current UberX rates.
Sky’s the limit, they say, and Uber wants to verify whether this phrase is true. The company that changed the taxi industry for only a couple of years plans to deploy its first flying taxis (no, not a joke) by the end of the decade.
Earlier this week, Uber’s Chief Product Officer, Jeff Holden, announced at the Uber Elevate Summit in Dallas that the company expects to start its new project in Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas, and Dubai by 2020. The flying taxis will be small, zero-emission electric aircrafts that will be able to take off and land vertically. The compact people carriers will be quiet enough to operate in cities.
Preliminary estimations show flying taxis would cut down travel time between San Francisco's Marina to downtown San Jose, for example, to 15 minutes. Currently, if you travel this distance by public transportation on land, you’ll need more than two hours.
But what’s even more impressive is that the price of this service won’t be considerably higher than UberX – a passenger mile is expected to cost around $1.32. Uber even predicts, in longer term, that this price will go down significantly and will fall below car ownership.
To accomplish this ambitious project, Uber will cooperate with many other companies. For instance, Hillwood Properties will develop four vertiports, “VTOL hubs with multiple takeoff and landing pads, and charging infrastructure,” in Dallas starting, as Reuters explains. U.S. electric vehicle charging station maker ChargePoint will work on an exclusive charger for Uber’s network, while Bell Helicopter, Aurora, Pipistrel, Mooney, and Embraer will develop the flying taxis.
The World Expo 2020 in Dubai is planned as a venue where the revolutionary taxis will be used for passenger flights as a demonstration of their capabilities.
Source: Uber via Reuters