Uber ahead of its second annual Uber Elevate Summit in Los Angeles on Tuesday has unveiled a prototype for its autonomous flying taxi of the future. As highlighted in a segment on CBS This Morning, Uber’s prototype looks a lot like the concept sketches the company shared publicly last year. It’s more or less a giant drone with a cockpit for passengers that’ll be powered by a series of rotors and propellers.
Officials tell CNBC that they’ll fly 1,000 to 2,000 feet above ground and be quieter than a traditional helicopter. Early iterations will be piloted but eventually, Uber aims to let the aircraft fly autonomously.
Future skyports will be able to conduct 200 takeoffs and landings per hour, or one every 24 seconds. Uber has partnered with NASA to develop technology to control air traffic and prevent crashes, we’re told.
Surprisingly enough, pricing won’t be all that bad. Customers in the four-seater will initially pay the same as an Uber Black over the same distance and once the service has enough passengers, pricing will drop down to Uber X rates for the same distance.
Uber plans to begin testing in 2020 ahead of a public roll-out in Dallas and Los Angeles by 2023. That’s just five years away – not very long at all in the grand scheme of things.
The concept will be on display at the aforementioned Uber Elevate Summit which kicks off today and runs through Wednesday.