Uber debuts its new flying taxis set to launch in 2023

Uber is taking the wraps off of its futuristic air taxis for the first time. 

The ride-hailing firm gave the public a look at the inside of its flying taxi that’s expected to ferry up to four passengers as part of the long-awaited airborne taxi service, dubbed ‘Uber Air.’

Previously, Uber had shared prototype digital designs of the vehicle, but now the vehicles are getting closer to takeoff. 

As part of the unveiling, Uber also announced that it expects the aerial ride-hailing platform to become available to the public as soon as 2023, following tests that will take place next year. 

It’s not yet clear how much an Uber Air trip will cost, but the firm expects it to be cheaper than a traditional helicopter ride.  

 

Uber is taking the wraps off of its futuristic air taxis for the first time. The firm gave the public a look at the inside of its flying taxi that’s expected to ferry up to four passengers as part of the long-awaited airborne taxi service, dubbed ‘Uber Air’

The first rides in Uber Air taxis will launch in Dallas, Texas as well as Los Angeles, before rolling out to additional areas in the future.

Uber gave its first in-depth look at the vehicle at its annual ‘Uber Elevate’ flying taxi conference in Washington, DC, which kicked off today and lasts through Wednesday.

For the most part, the inside of an Uber Air taxi looks pretty similar to a traditional helicopter. 

However, it’s missing some of the typical conveniences consumers might come to expect from ride-share vehicles or airplanes.   

For the most part, the inside of an Uber Air taxi looks pretty similar to a traditional helicopter. However, it's missing some of the typical conveniences consumers might come to expect from ride-share vehicles or airplanes

For the most part, the inside of an Uber Air taxi looks pretty similar to a traditional helicopter. However, it’s missing some of the typical conveniences consumers might come to expect from ride-share vehicles or airplanes

The interior was designed by French aerospace company Safran, who said that the firm chose to forego 'busy' things like cupholders, interactive screens, chargers or seatback pockets. Instead, the taxis are designed for quick pickup and drop off

The interior was designed by French aerospace company Safran, who said that the firm chose to forego ‘busy’ things like cupholders, interactive screens, chargers or seatback pockets. Instead, the taxis are designed for quick pickup and drop off

The interior was designed by French aerospace company Safran, who told Forbes that the firm chose to forego ‘busy’ things like cupholders, interactive screens, chargers or seatback pockets. 

Instead, Uber Air taxis are meant to ferry four passengers to their destination quickly and seamlessly, without many interruptions. 

That’s primarily because each Uber Air trip is estimated to take no more than 20 minutes from pickup to drop off. 

‘We realized for an 8-minute flight, that’s all irrelevant,’ Ian Scoley, a vice president of Safran’s design and innovation studio, told Forbes. 

While the taxis skimp on high-tech gadgets and features, they still exhibit some luxury.  

Each of the four seats is turned to face outwards toward the window, so that passengers don't have to interact if they'd rather enjoy a quiet ride. They're upholstered in sleek 'ultra leather' that's specially designed for passengers to swiftly get in and out

Each of the four seats is turned to face outwards toward the window, so that passengers don’t have to interact if they’d rather enjoy a quiet ride. They’re upholstered in sleek ‘ultra leather’ that’s specially designed for passengers to swiftly get in and out

There are windows on each side of the air taxi that should offer passengers sweeping views during their ride. Electric blue lighting turns on while the vehicle is in transit and then white when passengers are disembarking

There are windows on each side of the air taxi that should offer passengers sweeping views during their ride. Electric blue lighting turns on while the vehicle is in transit and then white when passengers are disembarking

Each of the four seats is turned to face outwards toward the window, so that passengers don’t have to interact if they’d rather enjoy a quiet ride. 

The seats are also upholstered in sleek, ‘ultra leather’ that’s specially designed so that passengers can easily slide in and out of the air taxi, according to Forbes. 

A shelf folds down in the back to store purses and backpacks, while a separate storage area can fit up to four rolling carry-on bags. 

There are windows on each side of the air taxi that should offer passengers sweeping views during their ride. 

Electric blue lighting turns on while the vehicle is in transit and then white when passengers are disembarking. 

While the taxis skimp on high-tech gadgets and features, they still exhibit some luxury

A shelf folds down in the back to store purses and backpacks, while a separate storage area can fit up to four rolling carry-on bags

While the taxis skimp on high-tech gadgets and features, they still exhibit some luxury. A shelf folds down in the back to store purses and backpacks, while a separate storage area can fit up to four rolling carry-on bags

As part of the unveiling, Uber also announced that it expects the aerial ride-hailing platform to become available to the public as soon as 2023. The first rides in Uber Air taxis will launch in Dallas, Texas as well as Los Angeles

As part of the unveiling, Uber also announced that it expects the aerial ride-hailing platform to become available to the public as soon as 2023. The first rides in Uber Air taxis will launch in Dallas, Texas as well as Los Angeles

Uber Air isn't likely to be cheap to start, but once it's been running for a few years, the company believes air travel could be just as cheap as owning a car. The company expects initial Uber Air trips to be cheaper than riding in a helicopter

Uber Air isn’t likely to be cheap to start, but once it’s been running for a few years, the company believes air travel could be just as cheap as owning a car. The company expects initial Uber Air trips to be cheaper than riding in a helicopter

‘Together with Safran Cabin, we’ve designed for the first time in history, a bespoke aircraft cabin that is truly mission-driven for aerial ridesharing on Uber Air,’ John Badalamenti, Uber Elevate’s Head of Design, said at the conference, according to TechCrunch.

‘Starting with the customer experience, it’s highly considered from the inside-out, yet extensible across different fuselage profiles, and carefully engineered with a path to certification.’

As Uber showed off the look and feel of its air taxis, the firm also gave some insight into how Uber Air will operate. 

Uber Air isn’t likely to be cheap to start, but once it’s been running for a few years, the company believes air travel could be just as cheap as owning a car.  

‘Our vision is that on a daily basis it’ll be more economically rational for you to fly than for you to drive,’ said Eric Allison, head of Uber Elevate, TechCrunch reported. 

The company expects initial Uber Air trips to be cheaper than riding in a helicopter, according to TechCrunch.    

WHAT IS UBER AIR AND HOW MUCH WILL IT COST?

UberAir is a network of small, electric, aircraft that enable four-person ridesharing flights in densely populated areas. Artist's impression shown

UberAir is a network of small, electric, aircraft that enable four-person ridesharing flights in densely populated areas. Artist’s impression shown

UberAir is a network of small, electric, aircraft that enable four-person ridesharing flights in densely populated areas.

The ‘electrical vertical take-off and landing vehicles’ (eVTOLs) differ from helicopters in that they are quieter, safer, more affordable, and more environmentally-friendly, Uber claims.

Users will order the aircraft through the Uber app much like they would one of the firm’s taxis.

Once they have selected an UberAIR ride, the craft will fly to the nearest ‘Skyport’ – a series of launch pads spread across the city.

Uber estimates that an all-electric, 200mph (320kph) ride across the skies of Los Angeles will be price-competitive with an UberX trip of the same distance.

Uber predicts that trips from LAX to the Staples Centre during rush hour can be reduced from up to 1 hour 20 minutes on the ground to less than 30 minutes using UberAir.

Its prediction includes UberX transfers to and from UberAir launch pads – the flight over LA itself will take around four minutes, the firm said.

 The plan will rely on a network of ‘Skyports,’ which will allow the VTOL Uber Air craft to take off and land on rooftops across the country

 The plan will rely on a network of ‘Skyports,’ which will allow the VTOL Uber Air craft to take off and land on rooftops across the country


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