LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – While Tesla-founder Elon Musk is looking to solve Los Angeles’ traffic problems by going underground, ridesharing giant Uber is hoping to address the issue by taking to the skies.
At the Web Summit in Lisbon, Portugal, Wednesday, Uber Chief Products Officer Jeff Holden announced that the ambitious UberAir pilot project will come to Los Angeles in 2020.
Described by Holden as “ride-sharing in the sky,” Uber is designing an electric plane-helicopter hybrid which can zip across L.A. in minutes.
“At scale, we’re going to have tens of thousands of flights each day across the city,” Holden said.
UberAir hopes to be as affordable to riders as using its current service.
“The target is to make this less expensive than driving your own car,” Holden said, adding that he wants the service to be ubiquitous by the 2028 Olympics.
UberAir is aiming to have as many as 20 skyports across L.A. where riders can be picked up and dropped off. However, it will initially start with four locations for its pilot program: L.A. International Airport, downtown L.A., Santa Monica and Sherman Oaks.
The battery-powered aircraft will fly at 150 to 200 miles per hour and go up to 60 miles on a single charge, Holden said. They will use several small rotors and no combustion engine. They are considered transitional aircraft because they use a fixed-wing design for cruising, while rotors for takeoff and landing.
“Many small rotors with its own dedicated electric motor,” Holden said. “This is a game-changer because it allows you to do quiet, clean flight… it’s 100 percent emissions-free.”
Each aircraft will have a pilot and four passenger seats.
According to CNET, Uber signed a Space Act Agreement with NASA Wednesday which allows the two to work together on making aircraft that is safe, viable and able to fly at low altitudes.
Los Angeles will be the second city to get UberAir after Dallas.