Uber reveals new concept and partners for air taxi network

Design models of Uber's flying taxi.
               CBS News

Design models of Uber's flying taxi. CBS News

Uber is very serious with its goal of making flying taxis a reality.

Bell Helicopter unveiled its cabin design for the air taxi earlier this year in January at the Consumer Electronics Show, which boasted a sleek, futuristic form with narrow noses at either end of the body. The company signed a "space act agreement" with NASA last fall to whip up ideas for a new "unmanned traffic management" system to safely oversee and manage these vehicles, which are supposed to be able to land in more places around a city than just airports. Uber will share information and data from the development of this program (Uber Air), and NASA will look for any added potential risks in crowded areas through simulations.

Uber revealed its new concept UberAIR - hoping to send "flying taxis" in the skies by 2020.

The US space agency NASA and ride-hailing platform Uber have signed an agreement to explore the technologies and challenges related to urban air mobility (UAM). Anyone interested can design their own eVTOL aircraft on the company's website by answering a few questions and picking out preferred features.

It envisions a fleet of electric jet-powered vehicles - part helicopter, part drone and part fixed-wing aircraft - running multiple small rotors capable of both vertical take off and landing and rapid horizontal flight.

In the meantime, it's called on NASA to help build realistic simulations of flying taxis during busy air traffic. Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti spoke on Tuesday morning via a recorded video.

However, their woes aren't quite over: An Uber auto-driving vehicle struck and killed a pedestrian in Tempe, Arizona in March. The company said it plans to start demonstrations of its flying taxi service in 2020 with pilots in Dubai, Dallas, and Los Angeles.

Uber has released more information about its concept fleet of flying taxis the company started talking about previous year.

And while UberAir may seem futuristic and unusual, it's also got support from federal agencies including NASA and the U.S. Army.

Uber itself will not manufacture the vehicles, working instead with aviation firms to produce the vehicles needed.

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