Uber’s Flying Taxis Could Take To The Skies By 2020

Image courtesy of Aurora Flight Sciences

If Uber has its way, in a few short years you’ll be able to hail a flying taxi: During a conference this week for its Uber Elevate project, the company and its partner said they’re planning to get their new aircraft into the sky by 2020.

The ride-hailing company announced Aurora Flight Sciences as its new partner in developing an electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft for the Uber Elevate Network.

Aurora says its eVTOL aircraft evolved from an X-plane program it’s working on for the U.S. Department of Defense and other autonomous aircraft it’s developed in the past.

The company says it’s already built and successfully flown its eVTOL aircraft in a test flight last week. Thus, “the goal of delivering 50 aircraft for testing by 2020 is well within reach.”

Uber had previously given the vague timeline of launching its flying taxi service “in the coming decade.”

When Uber first announced its plans for an on-demand flying fleet — not flying cars; these are strictly for air travel — last fall. Since then, it’s also brought a NASA engineer on board to help bring its project to fruition.

There are still many obstacles these vehicles will have to overcome before John Q. Public is able to hail one: They’ll have to comply with various regulations from aviation authorities, most notably the Federal Aviation Administration and European Aviation Safety Agency.