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Uber unveils air taxi service at Elevate summit

The rideshare corporation is branching out into air travel.

Uber has revealed plans for an air taxi service. The rideshare company announced the new Uber Air venture at its Elevate conference.

Uber air taxi details

Uber is partnering with Jaunt Air Mobility to implement a flying taxi service that the corporation hopes to debut on a trial basis next year. Uber Air will officially launch in 2023 in Dallas, Texas, Los Angeles, California, and Melbourne, Australia.

The eVTOL (electric vehicle takeoff and landing) aircraft can take up to four passengers from the company’s ‘skyports’ to their destinations for $5 a mile. Uber's engineering director of aviation, Mark Moore, spoke about the Jaunt partnership.

‘Jaunt Air Mobility has assembled a highly talented team of experienced engineers with a long history of designing and certifying eVTOL vehicles,’ said Moore in a statement.

‘Martin Peryea, Jaunt’s chief technology officer, has led many helicopter development programs as a chief engineer and brings invaluable insights to developing low noise, reliable, and safe aircraft. I look forward to seeing what our teams accomplish together as we aim to accelerate Jaunt’s commercialisation efforts,’ added Moore.

Uber said that it’s also working with Boeing and Embraer manufacturers to create the air taxis.

Will Uber Air hurt or help air travel?

While Uber says air taxis are the future of transportation, there is scepticism about how the new mode of travel would affect cities. Chris De Gruyter, research fellow at the Centre for Urban Research at Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, believes that Uber Air vehicles could add to Melbourne’s air congestion.

‘These vehicles are very low capacity – similar to what a car could carry – while there are also questions about whether these vehicles will create visual clutter in the sky and how environmentally-friendly they are,’ said De Gruyter.

The Uber Air taxis still have to get approval from the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) before they can take flight.

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