Uber flying cabs expected by 2024

File: Ride-sharing service Uber is teaming up with a Brazilian plane manufacturer to create airborne taxis. Photo: USTIN SULLIVAN / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / AFP

SAO PAULO - A network of electric aircraft Uber Technologies is developing with Embraer SA is likely to launch commercially in 2024, the Brazilian planemaker's chief executive said on Friday, adding a year to the latest forecast from the ride-hailing company.

Embraer Chief Executive Paulo Cesar de Souza told journalists the business model and financial commitments of the partnership have not been defined. Uber Chief Product Officer Jeff Holden said last month that a paid, intra-city flying taxi service could start in 2023.

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Souza said the companies would soon determine specifications of the proposed vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft.

Engineers are projecting one-tonne vehicles transporting a pilot and four passengers at an altitude of 800m to 1,000m (2,600-3,300ft), Souza said. The aircraft will be powered by batteries that can charge in as little as five minutes between flights, he added.

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The project has provided an outlet for engineering resources at Embraer, whose newest planes — a military cargo jet and a new generation of passenger jets — are well into their flight testing campaigns.

Some 65 international delegations have shown interest in the KC-390 military transport aircraft that will enter the Brazilian Air Force next year, Souza said.

The transition to a new commercial jet line-up is pressuring operations, but Souza said Embraer would meet the bottom end of its 2017 profit margin and aircraft delivery targets.


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