Uber revealed the new concept at its second Elevate Summit, an annual event that highlights progress towards an ultimate goal of commercializing a fleet of autonomous electric flying taxis in city centers.
Ahead of its Uber Elevate conference in Los Angeles Tuesday, Uber shared a prototype of its "flying taxi" with CBS This Morning. It's a world where passengers request an Uber Air on their phone, then head to rooftop sky ports where the aircraft take off.
At this year's summit, Uber unveiled yet another flying vehicle concept, this one being a four-passenger vertical-takeoff-and-landing (VTOL) fixed-wing aircraft, with vertical rotors fixed to those wings, giving an overall design that's not dissimilar to the quadcopters that have become popular in recent years.
"We want to create the network around those vehicles so that regular people can take these taxis in the air for longer distances when they want to avoid traffic at affordable prices", Khosrowshahi told CBS.
Building on this rotor partnership, Uber also announced a partnership with electric propulsion company Launchpoint Technologies on modeling, design and fabrication of novel electric motors built specifically for the stacked co-rotating rotors of the eVTOL concepts. While some experts predict that these challenges will ultimately be insurmountable, Uber and at least 19 other companies are pressing on with their plans to bring "flying cars" to the public. After rising in the air, two of the rotors flip to a horizontal position to push the winged hybrid craft forward at speeds of up to 200 miles per hour.
Uber is holding a conference on flying vehicles this week in Los Angeles.
Uber and the Army's Research, Development and Engineering command said in a statement.
Khosrowshahi said he's concentrating not just on correcting the company's past missteps but on making the necessary strides to ensure the company's future growth, including the launch of Uber Air. He said there's no question that Uber will resume its autonomous vehicle program, "but we want to be safe when we get back on the road".
Khosrowshahi became the CEO of Uber in August after his predecessor, Travis Kalanick, resigned. The company found that its self-driving feature was at fault when one of its cars killed a pedestrian in March. "The change didn't start with me".