Uber first shared its plans for a flying taxi service back in 2016, and it is not alone in harboring such ambitions. Boeing, Airbus and a host of aviation startups are also vying for territory in this area, and despite the fact that everything rides on a yet-to-be proven technology, a lot of money and resources are going into such efforts.
For its part, Uber imagines using vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) aircraft to carry people around urban centers. These aircraft would be electric to keep noise and carbon emissions to a minimum, have either two or four seats and take passengers on trips of up to 60 miles (96 km) between dedicated launch pads called Skyports. These would be piloted to begin with, and then fly on their own once autonomous technologies mature.