Uber unveils plans to demo flying cars by 2020

Uber, not satisfied with giving customers rides on land, is now looking to the skies.

The tech company announced Tuesday at its Elevate Summit that it has struck partnerships with the cities of Dallas and Dubai to demonstrate a network of flying cars by 2020. Uber also announced a handful of partnerships with aviation companies to develop and deliver a flying car.

Uber believes that investing in flying cars is essential to protecting its business, and envisions full-scale operations of a flying car network launching in 2023.

“If you’re not planting the seeds for 5-10 years out, you have no company in five to 10 years,” Uber chief product officer Jeff Holden said Tuesday.

Uber is already investing heavily in self-driving cars, aware that its existing business could be disrupted by autonomous vehicles. Now it’s striving to protect itself from being disrupted by aviation as well.

Uber expects flight to be become a daily part of our transportation lives. The company believes it can offer rides in flying cars for about the same price as an UberX ride. The technology could be transformative in areas plagued by traffic.

In October, Uber released its ambitious vision for how flying cars, technically known as vertical takeoff and landing vehicles (VTOL), could make transportation incredibly fast and cheap.

The technology is also largely unproven. Many hurdles remain to making flying cars safe, affordable and reliable. There will be regulatory questions to answer.

But interest in the space is heating up. Innovators are racing to capitalize on advances in electric power and artificial intelligence. Monday morning, Kitty Hawk released video of a prototype vehicle that can hover above water. The startup is backed by Google cofounder Larry Page. Airbus, the French aviation giant, has announced its own plan for developing air taxis.

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Floridians among worst driving and phone use offenders in U.S.

If Florida drivers cared as much about their steering wheels as they do their phones, the state would be a much safer place to drive.

A new study claims Floridians rank 49th in the U.S. when it comes to drivers who use their phones behind the wheel.

As a quick refresher, there are only 50 states.

In the safe driving report conducted by the insurance EverQuote, the Sunshine State ranked just behind Louisiana for drivers who have used a phone while in a moving vehicle.

According to the study, a whopping 92 percent of all U.S. drivers have used a phone while behind the wheel.

The data used in the study was gathered by the EverDrive app which assigns scores based on driving abilities.

It appears the knuckleheadedness of Florida drivers is a geographical thing as southerners are far more inclined to use their phones and drive. The study shows Southern drivers used their phones 41 percent of the time while driving, compared to other regions of the country which didn’t top 37 percent.




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26th annual Fort Lauderdale International Auto Show kicks off

The 26th annual Fort Lauderdale International Auto Show kicks off Thursday afternoon.

“Even if you’re not in the market, you can see everything under one roof,” Toyota district sales manager Elliot Schor said.

The auto show will feature exotic, economical, electric, old and new cars.

“Consumers these days, they really want more out of their cars than ever before,” Schor said.

Toyota is one of a few companies making their South Florida debuts at this year’s auto show.

Schor said buyers want it all and car companies are pulling out all the stops to give them what they want.

“(They want) safety, they want technology without sacrificing style, dependability and reliability, so you’ll see manufacturers packing more tech into vehicles than ever before,” Schor said.

The list of features has grown along with the auto show itself, and it’s all for a good cause.

The Fort Lauderdale International Auto Show benefits the Boys and Girls Club of Broward County.

“This past year, I know a $185,000 check was given to them from this show,” show manager Richard Baker said.

Baker hopes this year’s auto show drives home even more for Broward County children.

The show manager said close to $4 million has been raised so far for the Boys and Girls Club of Broward County thanks to the show.

Doors open at 2 p.m. Thursday and Friday at the Broward Convention Center.

The auto show begins at 10 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. Tickets are $8 for adults and $3 for children 6-12.

Admission is free for children 5 and younger.

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