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Uber takes to the skies with next ride-hailing project


Uber hopes to conduct passengers flights at the World Expo in Dubai in 2020.

Slovakia-based AeroMobil on Thursday unveiled its latest model flying vehicle at an auto show in Monaco and started accepting pre-orders. But even Uber's pitchman says, "This isn't going to be easy".

Uber isn't the only company racing to put cars in the air. The company confirmed that it was working on the idea of flying taxis which will be able to take its customers from one point to the other. A trip from San Jose to San Francisco, which often takes at least an hour and a half in traffic, would take 15 minutes by air, Holden said. "We want to bring VTOL to NYC as quickly as possible and we want the public to see them, trust them and try them and hear them", Wiesenthal said.

When Elevate was first announced, Uber said that it's aerial taxi service would cut commute from city to city by a significant amount of time.

He also announced partnerships with aviation companies that already have eVTOL systems in development, including Bell Helicopter, Aurora, Embraer and Mooney, to help develop the flying vehicles.


Bell Helicopter: A USA helicopter company and one of the developers of the Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey, the world's first tiltrotor aircraft capable of taking off like a helicopter and transforming into a fixed-wing aircraft. It is also joining forces with real estate firm Hilwood Properties in Dallas-Fort Worth to identify sites where it will build takeoff and landing pads, which Uber calls "vertiports". The debut of the two-seater vehicle, which has foldable wings and can fly and also drive on the road like a typical auto, was a success, said EAA spokesman Dick Knapinski, who was there.

As part of Uber's partnership with Dubai's Road and Transport Authority, the two entities will conduct a study on things like pricing and potential VTOL routes.

While "flying cars" are the exact kind of sci-fi goodness that gets us giddy, we're watching Uber's claims closely over the next few days.

But Uber may face speed bumps on its journey to the sky. Companies like Uber, Tesla, and Google have yet to get self-driving cars right, but they're rushing onto getting them to fly. Uber in December was forced to end a short-lived self-driving vehicle pilot in San Francisco after the company refused to apply for a state-mandated permit.

Uber has grown into the world's largest venture-backed startup, with a valuation estimated at some $68 billion despite ongoing obstacles with regulators and taxi operators. Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings and Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price both support the initiative. Dallas and Fort Worth's mayors respectively both support this project, and share the goal of making the Dallas-Fort Worth area the first USA location for an on-demand flying auto service.

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