The search is on for an international city to join the pilot locations for the Uber flying taxis service. Could London, Manchester or Birmingham be on the short list?
Uber has announced an open call for cities around the world to nominate themselves to become a launch site for its future fleet of flying taxis.
The ride-hailing service is working with a range of aviation companies to develop electric aircraft that can be used to carry passengers between destinations in urban areas as a way of cutting congestion in cities.
Uber flying taxis have already has announced partnerships with the US cities of Dallas and Los Angeles, but is now looking for a third, international city to join the programme, which is known as uberAIR.
When will Uber flying taxis be collecting fares?
The company has set targets of starting demonstration flights by 2020 and actual commercial flights by 2023.
Uber said the opportunity was open to any city outside the US where there is “a desire for a dramatic improvement in transportation and conditions are conducive to urban air mobility”.
Any cities and governments interested in the Uber flying taxis scheme have until July 1 to contact the transportation firm and express their interest.
Jeff Holden, Uber’s chief product officer, said: “We’ve been thrilled by the inbound interest from the international community, and we’ve now formalised a process whereby interested cities can engage with Uber directly and articulate their views on how uberAIR can positively impact their market and how they can help in launching and scaling the service.”
There are some guidelines on the types of cities the Uber flying taxis service is looking for. The criteria include a population of more than two million, stable environmental conditions and the presence of a large nearby airport where travel to and from it currently takes more than an hour because of traffic or distance.
Depending on what ‘stable environmental conditions’ mean London could be in with a shout.
Uber made the announcement at its Elevate Summit, where it has been discussing plans for uberAIR and shown off new concept designs for vehicles that could be used in the programme.
Uber isn’t the only company looking at flying taxis and its inevitable the airways over the major world cities are going to become almost as busy as the roads.
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