Uber set out plans for a flying taxi service by 2023, at its conference in Los Angeles this week (Financial Times – may be behind paywall).
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The company plans to produce thousands of short-range electric powered aircraft, which it says will be piloted by humans at first, but eventually fly autonomously (The Verge). And it is partnering with NASA to create a new air traffic control system (Financial Times).
The cab and food delivery company also announced it’s re-opening its contest to find an international city to launch one of its flying cab services in, after delays in Dubai. It announced Dallas and Los Angeles would be its first launch cities at last year’s annual conference.
According to The Financial Times, some industry members believe that Uber’s ride-sharing in the skies plan is just a way of boosting its valuation if it goes on the stock market, or a way of distracting from bad PR over the last year and a half.
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At least 19 companies have plans for flying-cars, including manufacturers Boeing and Airbus, and Kitty Hawk, owned by Google co founder Larry Page (The Verge).