Embraer just debuted its Uber Elevate flying taxi concept

Flying Uber Car Revealed

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Uber's flying auto is set to be revealed today at its Elevate conference in Los Angeles, but CBS News viewers were treated with a sneak peek at the innovative vehicle.

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. With Uber's autonomous driving program now stalled, it may be good time for the ride-hailing company to look towards the sky to transport riders. At higher altitudes (1,000-2,000 feet) a propeller in the back of the craft takes over, allowing it to fly like an airplane-which is faster and more energy efficient than staying in helicopter mode.

Four pairs of co-rotating propellers provide vertical lift.

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Instead, Uber hopes this reference concept will serve as a springboard for its partners who will handle the final design and manufacturing of the eVTOL vehicles. Uber expects an average mission length of about 25 miles with a 5-minute recharge between trips keeping the eVTOL running for about 3 hours of continuous operation during peak rush hours.

The taxis will be manned by a pilot first with the goal for the planes to eventually fly autonomously. Customers in the four-seater will initially pay the same as an Uber Black over the same distance and once the service has enough passengers, pricing will drop down to Uber X rates for the same distance. The reasoning is simple: the more fractured and varied future flying taxi models become, the harder it will be to regulate them, and the harder it will become for all of them to share the same infrastructure (landing pads, air space required for travel, etc.).

Uber Head of Vehicle Engineering Team Rob McDonald made it clear during the Elevate Summit keynote that "Uber is not developing a vehicle".

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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.

Uber had a lot to say about passenger and pedestrian safety in a statement issued on May 8, the day before Elevate Summit 2018 began.

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