Uber’s flying car is set to be revealed today at its Elevate conference in Los Angeles, but CBS News viewers were treated with a sneak peek at the innovative vehicle. The company’s electric air taxi is designed to fly at an altitude of 1000 to 2000 feet, and they hope to launch it by 2023. The air taxi’s design, which is more similar to a drone than a helicopter, reflects its intended mission of being able to land and take off quietly and smoothly as it moves from landing pad to landing pad, ferrying passengers around dense urban environments.

Continue reading below
Our Featured Videos

Uber sees its air taxi system as a means through which urban traffic and long commutes can be alleviated. “We want to create the network around those vehicles so that regular people can take these taxis in the air for longer distances when they want to avoid traffic at affordable prices,” Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi told CBS News. Designed to handle up to 200 landings and take-offs per hour, Uber’s air taxi will initially be piloted by humans, though the company intends for its vehicles to eventually be autonomous. The Elevate conference, at which the latest air taxi will debut, is an opportunity for industry insiders, government officials, real estate professionals, and infrastructure experts to learn about the future of transportation and collaborate to overcome the significant challenges that remain.

Related: Poor urban design could be at fault for Uber driverless car crash

In addition to technical challenges with the vehicle itself, the infrastructure to handle these kinds of vehicles does not yet exist. Similarly, regulation and legislation to govern these vehicles has not been established. While some experts predict that these challenges will ultimately be insurmountable, Uber and at least 19 other companies are pressing on with their plans to bring “flying cars” to the public.

A map comparing commute times of UberX, public transit, and Uber Elevate

Via The Verge and CNBC

Images via Uber