Uber unveils plans for a flying taxi to bypass road traffic

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The electric concept car Vision-S from Sony.

Uber presented plans for a flying taxi at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The carpool showed on Tuesday a model of the full-size concept for electric aircraft developed with the South Korean car manufacturer Hyundai, which is about flying over traffic instead of enlarging it.

Uber wants to offer an aerial rideshare that allows a pilot and three passengers to take city trips of up to 60 miles at a speed of up to 180 miles per hour. Uber and Hyundai resembled a winged helicopter with four propellers and jointly developed a personal aircraft (PAV) that can take off and land vertically.

Uber hopes to offer commercial flight sharing opportunities by 2023. The U.S. company has already worked with aircraft manufacturers like Bell Helicopter and Embraer to develop their own aircraft, and launched another aircraft prototype at CES in 2019.

The S-A1 electric aircraft to be produced by Hyundai is the latest attempt to free fossil fuels from air traffic by means of electric propulsion. However, fully electric aviation technology has been slow to take hold and is lagging behind other sectors such as the automotive industry. The world's first fully electric airliner, an old seaplane that was retrofitted with an electric motor, did its first test flight just last month.

Meanwhile, Sony also presented a prototype for electric cars at CES, which was equipped with Sony technology such as sensors and in-car entertainment. However, it is not yet clear whether the company intends to produce its own cars or to develop the car technology for sale to other manufacturers.

The electric concept car Vision-S from Sony.



The electric concept car Vision-S from Sony. Photo: Mario Tama / Getty Images