NEW YORK (CBSNEWS.COM) – Uber is releasing new information about Uber Air, an ambitious plan to launch a. “CBS This Morning” got the first look at the design models that will be on display at the Uber Elevate Summit in Los Angeles.
“We think cities are going to go vertical in terms of transportation and we want to make that a reality,” Dara Khosrowshahi told CBS News.
Thesaid their new model of an air taxi shows the company’s vision for the future of transportation. It’s a world where passengers request an Uber Air on their phone, then head to rooftop sky ports where the aircraft take off.
“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 said.
Uber’s chief product officer, Jeff Holden, said the program is meant to be “community friendly.” He says they’re still in the design phase and explained the technology works similar to a helicopter, with stacked rotors to create lift. But unlike a helicopter, the aircraft will have clusters of small propellers and run on electricity, making it quieter, more efficient and more affordable.
Although piloted at first, the goal is for the flying taxis to become autonomous. But questions remain about how they will guarantee safety. Uber also said for the program to become profitable it will need to move beyond a niche market.