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Uber to Launch Flying Taxi by 2020 | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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A future Uber Elevate networks facility is pictured in this handout illustration provided April 25, 2017. Uber/Handout via REUTERS

Dubai, London- US Uber Technologies Inc expects to deploy flying taxi services in Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas, and Dubai by 2020.

Uber’s flying taxis will be small, electric aircraft that takeoff and land vertically, enabling zero operational emissions and quiet enough to operate in cities.

Flying taxis would cut down travel time between San Francisco’s Marina to downtown San Jose to 15 minutes, compared with the more than two hours it takes by road, Uber estimates.

Chief Product Officer Jeff Holden said at the Uber Elevate Summit in Dallas that in an early scale operation, the company can get to $1.32 per passenger mile, a little higher than taking an UberX for a similar distance. Uber expects the cost of taking flying taxis to fall below car ownership on the long term.

Uber, which valued at $68 billion, has cooperated with many companies in the flying-taxi project, and has partnered with the Dubai government. The company expects to conduct passenger flights as part of the World Expo 2020.

Christopher Frye, the general manager of Uber in the UAE, said that Dubai continues to be a world leader in encouraging urban air transportation, and the recent pilot launch of uberX serves as a foundation for exactly this type of innovation.

Frye added that creating an all-electric Vertical Take-Off and Landing aircraft network can enable an innovative new form of rapid and reliable transportation in cities, and help make commuting faster and reduce congestion.

He noted that through the partnerships the company has, including with the Dubai Road and Transport Authority (RTA), the goal is to be able to have the first Uber elevate network demonstration in Dubai by 2020.