Uber unveils plans for flying auto network by 2020

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It said initial networks would be set up in the U.S. city of Dallas and Dubai in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Uber reportedly estimates the service will cut commute times by as much as 87.5 percent in certain places.

"Just don't call the futuristic cabs "flying cars".

Surprisingly, the company claims that once the service gains acceptance it will eventually cost as much as current auto rides.

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"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", he said. The company isn't building any of the hardware, and instead will rely on aircraft manufacturers such as Aurora Flight Sciences, Pipistrel Aircraft, Embraer, Mooney, and Bell Helicopter to build the flying taxis.

The summit was organised to specifically discuss the possibility of electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft being used as flying taxis in the smart cities of the future. Holden said its initial tests showed the cost per passenger mile will be $1.32, roughly 10 cents more than current UberX rates.

"We're very excited about the fact that Dallas-Fort Worth is among the first communities to be involved in this".

According to our calendar, that's fewer than three years away, and even at this early stage we suspect that the the flying taxis probably won't look like the '60s American cars previewed in the Luc Besson classic "The Fifth Element".

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In October, Holden published a 99-page white paper outlining Uber's vision of air transit, including vehicles that would travel 100 to 150 miles per hour, eventually making it cheap enough for the masses to use as daily transport.

Two areas have already been identified as the initial launch cities: Dallas and Dubai. What challenges remain? Uber and its partners must still must grapple with the same barriers that have stifled previous companies who claimed to be close to producing flying cars.

The company has also partnered with US electric vehicle charging station maker ChargePoint Inc. In February, the company said it hired NASA aircraft engineer Mark Moore to work on Uber Elevate, its flying vehicle initiative. These are VTOL hubs that will have multiple takeoff and landing pads, including charging infrastructure. The ride-hailing firm aims to demonstrate its airborne cabs, which people can order to take them around cities - during the 2020 World Expo in Dubai.

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