Uber’s Air Taxi Could Become The Future of Commuting

Commuters might be flying to their offices and errands soon with Uber’s Air Taxi.
Uber Air Taxi Scale Model

The ride-hailing company just unveiled new details about its upcoming air taxi services. And this time, Uber came with a prototype where CBS News got to see at the second annual Uber Elevate Summit.

Uber is aiming for 2020 to start running test flights in Dallas or Los Angeles. The company also plans to start commercial service as soon as 2023.

“We think cities are going to go vertical in terms of transportation and we want to make that a reality,” Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi told CBS News.

“We want to create the network around those vehicles so that regular people can take these taxis in the air for longer distances when they want to avoid traffic at affordable prices,” Khosrowshahi adds.

Jeff Holden, Uber’s chief product officer, says the ride is meant to be community friendly. It will work similar to a helicopter with stacked rotors to create lift. However, it will be running on electricity and will have small propellers making it quieter.

At launch, the Uber Air Taxi will be piloted. Eventually, the company plans to make it autonomous.

Would you be willing to try this mode of transportation? Let us know!


Transition and TF-X: Flying Cars Coming Very Soon!

In 2006, Terrafugia, the company built by five MIT graduates had the audacity to conceptualize Transition, the personal concept car that flew on premium automotive gasoline. Designed to fly like a “Light Sport Aircraft category airplane in the air and drive like a typical car on the ground”, it transitions from one to another in less than a minute. While TESLA concentrated on electric cars and flying in space, Terrafugia concentrated on its debut flight in 2009 and improving its proof of concept car. Transition has surmounted the legal considerations to enter the market – drivers require the standard U.S. driver’s license and a Sport Pilot Certificate. With its weight exemption, it can now be marketed as a Light Sport Aircraft and is expected to enter the market in 2019.

Terrafugia’s more recent innovation is TF-X, the all-electric flying car that will revolutionize personal transportation with its vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) and computerized controls. While many are skeptical of its roll-out in the light of recent TESLA mishaps, Terrafugia is pushing its certification so that the driver will just require an operator’s certificate, not a pilot’s license. This will definitely make it more marketable sooner.

Just imagine the freedom of driving on roads, taking off without needing runways! The space-age design with its fold-out wings and rotor blades belies its promise of practicality – delivering you safely to your doorstep with the footprint of a single car. With a cruise speed of 200 mph (320 km/h) and a range of 500 miles (800 km) powered by a 300 horsepower engine, it’s definitely suitable for short distance urban travel. For those who love films and cartoons, the four-seater TF-X is like a mash-up of the Jetson’s, Back to the Future, and Star Wars vehicles; sleek, sporty, and powerful. It’s definitely not for the ordinary Joe since it will cost more than non-flying luxury cars.

It is semi-autonomous, computer-controlled and can charge from electric car charging stations. Best of all when on air, it can avoid bad weather conditions, air traffic, and restricted flight space.

In November 2017, the Zhejiang Geely Holding Group from China acquired Terrafugia and this will enable the cars to take-off from concept to production, sales, and servicing. Terrafugia is in good company – Zhejiang Geely Holding Group now owns Volvo and the London Taxi Company and has been listed in Fortune 500 for the last five years. Currently, only the two-seater, road-legal Transitions can be reserved with a $10,000 refundable deposit paid through Paypal. Come fly with me, anyone?



The Transition makes maiden flight

Cars that have the ability to fly can normally be seen in movies and not in real life. But the future of driving might just be a few years away as Woburn, Mass. based company Terrafugia Inc. announced that their prototype flying car has successfully concluded its maiden flight.

Called the Transition, the car can seat two individuals, has four wheels and has wings that are foldable so it can be used in city streets without having those protruding things out there. The car was able to fly for 8 minutes and reached 1,400 feet in the air.

About a hundred individuals have already paid the $10,000 deposit for the car. Analysts expect those numbers to balloon as the company is set to unveil the Transition to the public later this week at the New York Auto Show. It is expected to cost at around $279,000.

The US government has already granted Terafugia’s request for special tires and a glass that is lighter than normal windshields in vehicles. The government has also temporarily exempted the Transistion from the requirement to equip vehicles with electronic stability control. This would lighten the vehicle about 6 pounds. The flying car is currently texting batteries of automotive crash tests to make sure it meets federal safety standards.

The Jetsons might be a real thing then.

Image Source: Hotautomag.com

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