If you build a flying car, will they come?

 Flying cars have been a sci-fi promise for decades, and we’re hearing that they may be a reality soon. Maybe. But are consumers really waiting with bated breath for a flying car? Researchers at the University of Michigan’s Sustainable Worldwide Transportation group surveyed 508 Americans online in April 2017 to find out what people think of this sci-fi dream becoming reality.… Read More

Uber targets 2020 for on-demand VTOL demo flights in Dallas and Dubai

 Uber is making its vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) plans more concrete, via new partnerships announced today during its Elevate conference focused on the VTOL industry. The partnerships are with established aeronautics and emerging VTOL players, including Aurora Flight Sciences, Embraer, Bell Helicopter, Pistrel Aircraft, Mooney and ChargePoint, and will focus on two markets initially… Read More

Uber Technologies Inc lays out aggressive partnership plan to begin testing flying taxis by 2020 in both Dallas and Dubai

Uber Technologies Inc. hopes to one day operate a network of flying cars. On Tuesday, the ride-hailing company laid out some aggressive plans to get closer to its first flight.

Officials in Dallas-Fort Worth and Dubai have signed on to work with the company on testing vehicles that can take off and land vertically in their cities by 2020, Uber said at a conference in Dallas. The San Francisco company said it’s partnering with a handful of aircraft manufacturers and real estate firms, as well as with ChargePoint Inc. to lay an electric charging network.

Uber sketched out a clearer vision for its flying taxis at a time when it’s struggling with more urgent problems at the ground level. The company is facing an internal investigation of its work culture, the ongoing search for a chief operating officer to help its embattled leader Travis Kalanick, a core business with mounting losses despite rapid growth and a lawsuit from Alphabet Inc.’s self-driving car group over alleged theft of documents.

In addition to being a rival in the courtroom, Alphabet could pose competition in the skies. Chief Executive Officer Larry Page funded at least two flying car projects. The startups Kitty Hawk and Zee.Aero, which are separate from Alphabet, are racing to build personal aircrafts similar to those Uber has proposed. Kitty Hawk released a video on Monday showing one of its vehicles zooming across a lake, hovering about 15 feet in the air, with a rider astride the top like on a motorcycle. Airbus SE has proposed several different concepts for vertical takeoff vehicles, and the government of Dubai is joining with China’s EHang to bring closed-top passenger drones to the city.

Uber first revealed its intentions to build a system of flying cars in a white paper last fall. In February, the company said it hired NASA aircraft engineer Mark Moore to work on Uber Elevate, its flying car initiative. Uber said Tuesday that it’s teaming up with Aurora Flight Sciences, Pipistrel Aircraft, Embraer SA, Mooney International Corp. and Bell Helicopter Textron Inc. to develop electric vehicles. It also said it’s working with Hillwood Properties in Dallas-Fort Worth and several other real estate firms in Dubai to choose sites and construct ports for vehicle takeoffs and landings.

Bloomberg News

Watch Uber’s Elevate electric VTOL summit live right here

 Uber’s Elevate summit, which brings together experts in the vertical take-off and landing industry, is happening in Dallas, Texas starting today and continuing through tomorrow. The conference includes a number of sessions, with participation from experts from some of the largest aeronautics companies in the world, as well as regulators and leading academics. Basically, if… Read More

Waymo begins first public on-demand self-driving service test in Arizona

 Waymo has already been offering members of the public access to its self-driving fleet – for two months, during a limited trial in Phoenix, Arizona. The Alphabet-owned company quietly kicked off public availability of its Fiat-Chrysler Pacifica minivans and other autonomous vehicles, equipped with self-driving hardware and software, with a small group of testers who live in the Phoenix… Read More

CN Rail’s revenue rises 8 per cent on higher freight volumes, net income jumps

Canadian National Railway Co reported an 8 per cent increase in quarterly revenue as it moved higher volumes of Canadian grain and U.S. commodities.

Canada’s largest railroad company said net income rose to $884 million, or $1.16 per share, in the first quarter ended March 31, from $792 million, or $1 per share, a year earlier.

Revenue rose to $3.21 billion from $2.96 billion.

© Thomson Reuters 2017

Mercedes-Benz expands car sharing service Croove beyond pilot phase

 Mercedes-Benz started testing out a new car sharing service in December of last year, debuting Croove in a limited pilot allowing people to rent out their cars on-demand for short stints in Munich. The program has proven successful enough for Mercedes to expand it to other German cities, including Berlin, where it began operations mid-month in April. The Daimler-owned car brand’s program… Read More

Inside Boom’s efforts to build a new generation of supersonic commercial jets

 Boom has set itself with arguably one of the most ambitious tasks taken on by a startup: To restore the age of the Concorde, but bigger, better, and more sustainable than ever. We took a trip to Colorado and visited Boom’s airport HQ to find out exactly what it looks like to be a company with fewer than fifty employees trying to make supersonic consumer flight a practical reality. We got… Read More