Uber Elevate unveiled on Tuesday what it wants its flying taxis to look that could be buzzing around Dallas-Fort Worth skies in a few years as part of the UberAIR service.
The prototype designs for the vertical takeoff and landing — VTOL — aircraft were unveiled at the second annual Uber Elevate Summit in Los Angeles.
Dallas-Fort Worth and Los Angeles are the first U.S. metropolitan areas scheduled to have the vehicles lifting off from area skyports, perhaps as early as 2020. The company said that the skyports could handle 200 takeoffs and landings an hour in the vehicles, that will be piloted at first, CNBC reported.
Eventually, Uber plans to have a fleet of autonomous flying taxis serving customers.
The drone-like prototypes — called the Common Reference Model by Uber — have four rotors on wings, which company officials said would make the aircraft safer than helicopters that fly using one rotor. At the back of the aircraft, a forward-facing propeller would provide power for horizontal flight.
The Uber VTOL vehicles will be quieter than a helicopter and will create half the noise of a truck, CNBC said.
“These concepts are neutral ground that Uber has put together, so we can share insights with all our partners.”
Wired said the vehicles will cruise at speeds between 150 and 200 miles per hour at up to 2,000 feet.
The prototypes are all-electric, and will seat four passengers plus the pilot. The vehicles will feature one door on one side of the aircraft to make ground operations easier, according to Wired.
Uber is partnering with the NASA to develop the service. In DFW, the company is working with Hillwood Properties to build vertical skyports and also has called upon Fort Worth-based Bell to develop the vehicles.
Wired said that the Uber network would use aircraft made from a variety of manufacturers.
“These concepts are neutral ground that Uber has put together, so we can share insights with all our partners,” Uber’s head of vehicle engineering Rob McDonad told Wired.
Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings will be the featured speaker Wednesday during the summit’s closing, and will talk about being “mayor of the world’s first announced UberAIR city,” and the progress that’s been made since the service was announced at last year’s summit.