While some experts predict that these challenges will ultimately be insurmountable, Uber and at least 19 other companies are pressing on with their plans to bring "flying cars" to the public.
At its second annual Elevate Summit in Los Angeles, the ride-hailing giant introduced a prototype for its electric vertical take-off and landing vehicles (eVTOL), which are created to carry four passengers in ride-sharing flights in dense, urban markets.
Uber wants to start testing its air transportation service, Uber Elevate, by 2020 in Los Angeles, Dallas, and Dubai.
Uber officials have said the company wants to have flying rideshare vehicles in some cities within the next two years.
Flying cars and air taxis, as well as autonomous drones, are gaining interest as advancements in battery power and electric propulsion are making it possible to build small, electric aircraft that can carry several passengers and take off and land vertically, like a helicopter.
Google Maps to add new features including "For You" and "Your Match"
You can think of VPS as the intersection between Street View, augmented reality, and the existing navigation system of Maps. Based on the demo I saw, the team actually did a really nice job with this.
Uber Technologies Inc said on Tuesday it would work with the U.S. Army to advance research on a novel, quiet aircraft rotor technology that could be used in future flying cars, or military aircraft.
The company, which is hosting its second Uber Elevate summit in Los Angeles showed off the newest renderings of its planned sky taxis. An additional vertical propeller in the back provides forward thrust. Flying speed will be between 150 miles per hour and 200 miles per hour while flying from 1,000 to 2,000 feet above the ground. Passengers will sit in the middle of the aircraft and up front, and a pilot will carry the passengers (up to a maximum of four) to their destinations. The vehicles will feature one door on one side of the aircraft to make ground operations easier, according to Wired.
The concept was developed by the company's Embraer X, a division responsible for exploring new aviation technologies and markets, which has a preliminary agreement with Uber to examine business opportunities for electrical Vertical Takeoff and Landing aircraft.
"These concepts are neutral ground that Uber has put together, so we can share insights with all our partners", Uber's head of vehicle engineering Rob McDonad told Wired.