UT Austin, Army could help Uber make the leap to flying rides


AUSTIN (KXAN) — Uber will work with engineers from the University of Texas at Austin and the U.S. Army to try to get its flying rideshare idea off the ground.

Last November, the ride-hailing app announced it wanted to create a flying taxi called UberAIR to help decrease road congestion. It targeted Dallas and Los Angeles as the first cities to test and use the service, with a goal of making it available to riders in 2023. Currently, it takes about an hour at peak traffic times to get 25 miles from the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport to Frisco, which could take just 10 minutes in an UberAIR vehicle, according to the company.

As for how UT and the Army play into this: they’ll develop new rotor, or propellor, technology for the vehicles, which will allow them to do a vertical take-off and landing. The company hopes the vehicle will travel between 150-200 mph at an altitude of 1,000-2,000 feet and be able to complete trips of up to 60 miles on a single charge.

Researchers will analyze if a new flying technology will work for the vehicles. It involves stacking two rotor systems on top of each other and having them rotate the same way. UT Austin already has a rig that can test rotor configurations on campus. 

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