Uber Technologies executive is highly optimistic about the possibilities of flying taxies becoming a reality in a matter of just 10 years.
According to Dara Khosrowshahi, the CEO of Uber Technologies, commercialization of Uber Air flying taxi service isn’t too far and it could happen in as little as five to a maximum of 10 years. Uber is placing huge bets on flying vehicles as an affordable means of transport in a few years. Khosrowshahi made the optimistic statements while speaking at an investor forum in Tokyo on his first visit to Asia as Uber CEO.
Uber signed a deal with NASA in November last year to gain support from the US space agency for its flying taxis project – specifically for the traffic systems – which it hopes to start testing in 2020. Uber’s goal is to make vertical take-off and landing vehicles. That will allow their flying cars to take off and land vertically. They will fly at a low altitude.
“UberAir will be performing far more flights on a daily basis than it has ever been done before. Doing this safely and efficiently is going to require a foundational change in airspace management technologies,” Jeff Holden, chief product officer at Uber, had said in a statement at the time.
The NASA deal is the latest in a series of partnerships Uber has struck to get UberAir — which is what the new service is called — off the ground.
SoftBank Group and China’s Didi Chuxing also plan to launch a venture in Japan this year. SoftBank is the largest shareholder in Uber. SoftBank also has large investments in several other ride-hailing companies, including Grab, leading some to call the Japanese conglomerate the “real king of ride-hailing.”