Monday, October 22, 2018
Business

Uber reaches for the skies with plan for sleek flying taxi

By BARRY HATTON

LISBON, Portugal — Commuters of the future could get some relief from congested roads if Uber’s plans for flying taxis work out.

The ride-hailing service unveiled Wednesday an artist’s impression of the sleek, futuristic machine it hopes to start using for demonstration flights in 2020. The company aims to have its first paying passengers in various cities around the world by 2023, though the plan still faces major hurdles.

The battery-powered aircraft looks like a cross between a small plane and a helicopter, with fixed wings and rotors. It was presented at an international technology conference in Lisbon, Portugal.

The vehicle is intended to soar over traffic congestion, sharply reducing city travel times. Uber hopes it will eventually become a form of mass transport and cost commuters less than using their own car, though initially it will be more expensive than that, Uber’s Chief Product Officer Jeff Holden said.

The scheme still faces plenty of challenges, including certification of the new vehicle by authorities, pilot training and conceiving urban air traffic management systems that prevent collisions.

Holden said that Uber is joining NASA’s project to expand air traffic systems, which scores of other companies already belong to.

He told The Associated Press in an interview that he has no dollar figure for the total investment. He said Uber is putting some of its own money into the project, developing software, while other investors are also involved, such as aircraft manufacturers that are developing the vehicle and real estate companies that are providing so-called ‘skyports’ where people will catch their airborne taxi.

Uber is keen to move on from a troubled period in which its image has been damaged by investigations that found rampant sexual harassment of employees and multiple reports of drivers assaulting passengers. Holden said those episodes did not slow development of the flying taxi project.

Comments
Which candy will Floridians buy the most this Halloween?

Which candy will Floridians buy the most this Halloween?

Last year, Floridians’ trick-or-treat bowls were leaning toward Skittles. But a more savory — but still sugary — treat has taken over as the Sunshine State’s preferred candy this Halloween. The Snickers bar wins out, according to a recent survey by s...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Pinellas reports a concerning rise in Hepatitis A. Officials urge vaccination.

Pinellas reports a concerning rise in Hepatitis A. Officials urge vaccination.

Health department officials across Tampa Bay are encouraging residents to get vaccinated against hepatitis A, which is on the rise. As of this week, 58 cases of the virus have been reported in Pinellas this year, including a jump of 10 cases from Sep...
Published: 10/22/18
Tampa ranks No. 7 for complaints of tech support scams

Tampa ranks No. 7 for complaints of tech support scams

Ever receive a phony "tech support" email or call? In the city of Tampa, you’re not alone. Tampa has the dubious honor of ranking No. 7 on Microsoft’s list of nine cities with the highest number of complaints about such scams. Tampa’s total: 1,970 su...
Published: 10/22/18
Ron DeSantis says Florida public schools are wasting money. Are they?

Ron DeSantis says Florida public schools are wasting money. Are they?

Florida’s school leaders have made plain for years their desire for more money to run their districts. They’ve asked lawmakers for higher per-student funding, and the freedom to spend the money where it’s needed. They’ve requested more construction m...
Published: 10/22/18
Pasco Business Digest for Oct. 26

Pasco Business Digest for Oct. 26

News and notes about Pasco businesses
Published: 10/22/18
Dear Penny: I have a $30k inheritance and no debt. Why do I feel stuck?

Dear Penny: I have a $30k inheritance and no debt. Why do I feel stuck?

Dear Penny, I recently received a $30,000 check from my grandparents as an early inheritance. Don’t panic: They’re both still alive. They gifted it to me for tax purposes. Ever since I received the check, I’ve just been staring at it. I don’t know wh...
Published: 10/22/18
Hernando Pet of the Week for Oct. 26

Hernando Pet of the Week for Oct. 26

PET OF THE WEEK Fudge is a chocolate colored, 2-year-old domestic short hair. He loves being the center of attention, and his cool color makes him a favorite of the staff. He does well with other cats and dogs. Inquiries about adopting Fudge or othe...
Published: 10/22/18
Hurricane Michael’s effect on timber industry ‘catastrophic,

Hurricane Michael’s effect on timber industry ‘catastrophic," Adam Putnam says.

Hurricane Michael’s enduring legacy could include long-term damage to Florida’s timber industry. While experts try to get a handle on the carnage, state Agricultural Commissioner Adam Putnam said Friday that preliminary estimates peg it ...
Published: 10/19/18
Updated: 10/22/18
Time is ticking to nominate your employer as a top workplace in Tampa Bay

Time is ticking to nominate your employer as a top workplace in Tampa Bay

It’s not too late.We’re extending the deadline until Nov. 16 to nominate your employer as one of Tampa Bay’s Top 100 Workplaces. This marks the tenth consecutive year that the Tampa Bay Times has highlighted the best of the best companies and organiz...
Published: 10/19/18
Updated: 10/22/18
Unbound Miami: Entrepreneur Daniel Seal talks about his innovation festival

Unbound Miami: Entrepreneur Daniel Seal talks about his innovation festival

For years, Daniel Seal could see the disconnect between entrepreneurs, corporations and governments.A serial entrepreneur and former politician in London, England, Seal knew if he could bring the three entities together they would all benefit. Improv...
Published: 10/19/18
Updated: 10/22/18