Uber unveils flying taxi prototype ahead of annual Elevate Summit


Its plan is to have a sky full of small drone-like taxis shuttling customers around cities at far faster speeds than driving - all with the request of a ride in the Uber app.

Although the cars - technically referred to as VTOL, or vertical takeoff and landing vehicles - seem likeglorified helicopters, Uber believes its concept will be safer and cheaper than what's already available.

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.

Uber Technologies announced a partnership to study urban manned aircraft in conjunction with the US space agency NASA, following a partnership a year ago that focused on unmanned drones.

"What 2020 is for is demonstrator flights".

"These vehicles will actually start out as piloted", Goel said, referring to Uber's plans for flying taxis, adding they would only be used after close coordination with the Federal Aviation Administration and after a thorough safety review. "This could lead to a safer vehicle", ARK Invest industry innovation analyst Sam Korus told CNNMoney.

Uber hopes to launch its Uber Air service by 2028. Big aerospace companies including Bell, Embraer, Boeing and others are working on prototype designs. To help create skyports for the uberAIR network, Uber has also entered into real estate partnerships with Hillwood Properties and Sandstone Properties. In the near-term, Uber says it will get the cost down to $1.86 per passenger mile before ideally getting to $0.44 per passenger mile.

"Push a button, get a flight", Uber Chief Product Officer Jeff Holden told the crowd of about 700 attendees.

When CBS News' Bianna Golodryga asked Khosrowshahi when he expected to turn around Uber's corporate culture, he replied: "If it's not changed right now, then I failed". "We can't just shut down anytime it rains or it's cloudy". Under this agreement, Uber will share its unique UAM requirements based on their future operational concept for the world's first urban aviation's rideshare network, and NASA will use the latest airspace management modeling and simulation algorithms to assess the impacts of integrating UAM operations in an urban environment.