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Mon 15 Jul 2019 10:41 AM

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Video: Uber Air taxi explained

Uber is on a roll this year. After acquiring Careem here, the company recently acquired Seattle based Mighty AI to fuel its push into self-driving, are talking about delivering fast food by drones, became publicly listed and are even recruiting grannies as Uber eats deliverers in Japan.

Now they’ve decided to take on the skies – yes – an aerial ride hailing platform is on its way guys!!

So how does this work?

The company describes the flying taxi service as ‘aerial ridesharing’ where up to four passengers can travel across a network of landing pads called ‘Skyports’ – all for the price of an UberX.

Initially, uberAIR will cost $5.73 per passenger mile. In the near-term, it will get the cost down to $1.86 per passenger mile before ideally getting to $0.44 per passenger mile.

And apparently these passenger drones will be able to whisk passengers to their destinations at 150 to 200 mph, so a lot of your commute time is going to be saved too.

Uber Air will start test flights of its aerial taxi service in 2020, and move to commercial operations by 2023.

How do you avail the service?

Exactly like how we use Uber now. Use the app to book a ride to the platform (Skyports) and then just board these flying taxis and skip the traffic below.

Let me give you more deets on the vehicle itself.

It basically is a passenger drone, which unlike a helicopter is far simpler. Controlled by computers, they use electricity as a primary power source from batteries make them thrust into the sky.

Uber actually unveiled the model of Uber Air and it seats 4 people with a pilot a few weeks back.

The end goal would be to be fully autonomous, however, this would require extensive proof these system are completely safe.

Aside from some electric blue lighting and similarly colored seat belts, there aren’t the same kinds of comforts you’d find on an airplane, but that’s likely since Uber is planning to only use these aircraft for short rides – 60 miles.

They are also working on a number of Skyport concepts at the moment.

Skyports, like I said, are launchpads and landing sites on rooftops around cities as a supportive infrastructure.

As part of Uber’s design competition, the proposed Skyports needed to support transport of more than 4,000 passengers per hour within a three-acre footprint, as well as meet noise and environmental requirements.

They also needed to ensure that electric-powered aircraft were able to recharge between trips.

Melbourne, Dallas, and Los Angeles have all put themselves forward as potential sites for the first round of flights.

Unfortunately, the Middle East wasn’t included in the initial list due to demand-related uncertainty and challenging weather conditions.

(Source: Arabianbusiness.com YouTube channel)