The public transportation of the future could look like a lot like modern luxury.
Aircraft manufacturer Bell Helicopter revealed its prototype for a flying, autonomous taxi at the CES in Las Vegas this week.
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The “urban air taxi” exists somewhere between drone and helicopter. The four-passenger aircraft would be capable of flying up to 150 miles per hour, according to WIRED, transporting travelers more efficiently for a price comparable to ride shares on the ground.
The air taxi takes premium Uber features to the extreme, with in-cabin Wi-Fi, wireless charging, video calling and a system with artificial intelligence. The cabin features four large seats, baggage storage in the rear and large windows.
Initially, each aircraft will have a human pilot, but as riders become more comfortable with the idea of autonomous transportation, the pod could pilot itself from “vertiport” to “vertiport” around cities.
So far, the company has only shown off its taxi’s cabin. The propulsion system — rotors, fans, wings, or a combination of the three — will premiere at a later date.
“The future of urban air taxi is closer than many people realize,” Bell’s CEO Mitch Snyder said at the tech conference. “We believe in the positive impact our design will have on addressing transportation concerns in cities worldwide.”
In November, Uber announced its intentions to operate flying taxis in cities like Dubai, Dallas and Los Angeles by 2020. The company hopes to partner with other industry players and NASA to develop a software that would manage these flying taxi routes like the ride-sharing services currently available on the ground.