Uber has unveiled plans for a flying taxi at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The ride-sharing company on Tuesday showed off a full-size mock-up of the electric plane concept vehicle created with South Korean carmaker Hyundai, as it seeks to fly above traffic rather than add to it.
Uber wants to offer aerial ridesharing, allowing a pilot and three passengers to take city trips of up to 60 miles at a speed of up to 180mph. Resembling a winged helicopter and featuring four propellers, Uber and Hyundai joined forces to design a personal air vehicle, or PAV, which can take off and land vertically.
Uber’s former CEO Travis Kalanick will resign from the board of directors of the US ride-share giant by the end of the year, the company said on Tuesday, effectively severing ties with the outfit he co-founded a decade ago.
Kalanick, who helped found Uber in 2009, stepped down from the company’s helm in June 2017 under pressure from investors, after a string of setbacks.
The grisly murder of four drivers for Uber and another ridesharing service in a Brazilian favela may have been driven by vengeance after a gang leader’s sick mother had a ride cancelled, police have said.
The four men, aged between 23 and 48, were tortured and killed after being called to the Jardim Santo Inácio favela in the north-eastern city of Salvador last week. A fifth driver made a dramatic escape and alerted police. He and two victims worked for the Brazilian transport company 99; the others for Uber.
More than 3,000 Uber passengers reported sexual assaults in 2018, the ride-sharing company revealed in its first-ever safety report on Friday. Nine passengers were murdered and 58 riders were killed in crashes last year, the report said.
These incidents represent just a fraction of the more than 1.3bn rides Uber facilitated in the US in the past year, but they come at a time when the company is increasingly under scrutiny for worker and rider safety conditions.
Under the guise of giving its drivers more access to the banking and financial system, Uber has quietly been developing a loan program that may have the potential to trap drivers in cycles of debt, making them easier for the company to exploit.
In early September, a number of Uber drivers in the US received a notification through their Uber app informing them that the company was developing an “exciting new financial product” to help them “in a time of need”. “If Uber provided access to affordable loans,” an accompanying questionnaire asked, “how likely are you to take advantage of this product?”