Uber claims flying taxis will buzz above Dubai and Dallas by 2020

Uber flying taxi rendering
Flying cars have been a science fiction staple for decades, but Uber wants to bring them a step closer to reality.

The ridesharing company wants to deploy flying taxis in Dallas, Texas and Dubai by 2020, chief product officer Jeff Holden said at the Uber Elevate Summit in Dallas Tuesday, according to Reuters. The flying taxis would be electric, would have vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) capability, and would be quiet enough to operate in urban areas, according to the presentation.

As with longer-distance flights, the advantage of flying taxis would be low travel times. They could cut the travel time between San Francisco’s downtown Marina and San Jose down to 15 minutes from the two hours it takes to make the same trip by road, according to Uber.

Costs should be reasonable as well, the company claims. In early, small-scale operations, the company believes it can achieve costs of $1.32 per passenger miles, slightly higher than taking UberX over the same distance, Uber’s Holden said. But over time, Uber believes the cost of flying-taxi service will fall below that of cars.

Uber is working with Hillwood Properties to develop four “vertiports” to handle the flying taxis in Dallas, starting next year, Holden said. It’s also working with Dubai’s government to get flying taxis in the air in time for World Expo 2020, which will be held in the city. Uber is partnering with multiple companies, including Bell Helicopter, Pipistrel, Mooney, and Embraer, to develop the taxis. ChargePoint, which manufactures and operates charging stations for electric cars, will make charging equipment for the vehicles.

Flying taxis are an ambitious move for Uber, which is currently being rocked by scandals over everything from allegations of sexual harassment to claims that it used secret software to track drivers from rival Lyft. The company’s other futuristic tech initiative, a self-driving car program, has experienced multiple setbacks, most notably a lawsuit from Waymo claiming Uber benefited from stolen information.

Mobile

Why Honor’s new screen is the hole-y grail in quest to ditch the notch

Honor will release a smartphone with an in-screen camera in the new year, a trend which is gathering momentum in the industry. Honor said it has cracked the formula, and explains what's special about its All-View Display.
Mobile

5G’s arrival is transforming tech. Here’s everything you need to know to keep up

It has been years in the making, but 5G is finally becoming a reality. While 5G coverage is still extremely limited, expect to see it expand in 2019. Not sure what 5G even is? Here's everything you need to know.
Gaming

New ‘Stardew Valley’ content on the way, as game’s maker freezes next project

Stardew Valley creator Eric Barone said that he will continue working on new content for the indie farming simulator. The developer previously said that he will devote all his time to his next game, but that has been placed on hold for now.
Cars

NYC mandates minimum wage for Uber, Lyft, other app-based rideshare drivers

New York City's Taxi and Limousine Commission approved a rule that drivers for companies such as Uber and Lyft must be paid at least minimum wage, even though they are independent contractors. The new pay rate includes operating costs.
Product Review

The all-new 3 Series proves BMW can still build a compelling sport sedan

Seat time in the entry-level BMW 330i ($41,425) and M340i xDrive ($54,995) will test the German automaker’s commitment to driving dynamics, powertrain refinement, and cutting edge technology.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Booze-filled ski poles and crypto piggy banks

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Mobile

Car-branded phones need to make a U-turn if they ever want to impress

Your car and your smartphone are becoming one, yet smartphones branded or co-created by car companies are a problem. We look at the history, some examples of the best and worst, then share hopes for the future.
Cars

California wants all-electric public bus fleet on its roads by 2040

California approved a regulation that targets an all-electric public bus fleet for the whole state by 2040. The effect of the full implementation of the regulation is equivalent to taking 4 million cars off the road.
Cars

1,000-mph Bloodhound supersonic car project finds a last-minute savior

The Bloodhound supersonic car (SSC) project has found a buyer. The project was going to be disbanded after running out of funds, but its assets were purchased by British businessman Ian Warhurst.
Cars

Ford’s prototype Quiet Kennel uses noise-canceling tech to keep dogs stress-free

Ford is ending 2018 by venturing into the doghouse market. The company's European division has built a kennel equipped with active noise-canceling technology and soundproof walls that help dogs sleep through fireworks.
Emerging Tech

Self-driving dirt rally vehicle offers crash course in autonomous car safety

Georgia Tech's AutoRally initiative pushes self-driving cars to their limit by getting scaled-down autonomous vehicles to drive really, really fast and aggressively on dirt roads. Here's why.
Cars

The best compact cars pack full-size features in fun-size packages

The best compact cars on the market rival their counterparts in many ways, proving that bigger isn’t always better. Here, we've rounded up some of the better options available, including an SUV and an electric alternative.
Cars

Lincoln revives its coolest-ever design feature for limited-edition Continental

The 1961 Lincoln Continental became a design icon thanks to center-opening "coach doors" (also known as "suicide doors"). Lincoln is bringing those doors back for a special edition of the 2019 Continental.
Product Review

Ford’s reincarnated Ranger feels like a car that does everything a truck can do

The 2019 Ford Ranger aims to be a tool for weekend adventures, and goes head-to-head with midsize pickup trucks from Chevrolet, Honda, Nissan, and Toyota. Ford hasn’t sold the Ranger in the United States since 2011, so it has to make up…