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Uber expects flying taxis to take off in 2020

FILE PHOTO - A photo illustration shows the Uber app logo displayed on a mobile telephone, as it is held up for a posed photograph in central London, Britain August 17, 2016. REUTERS/Neil Hall/Illustration/File Photo

Flying taxis may become a reality in the next four years.

U.S. ride-hailing service Uber Technologies Inc expects to deploy flying taxi services in Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas, and Dubai in 2020, Chief Product Officer Jeff Holden said at the Uber Elevate Summit in Dallas.

Uber's flying taxis will be small, electric aircraft that takeoff and land vertically, or VTOL aircraft, enabling zero operational emissions and quiet enough to operate in cities without disturbing the neighbors.

The company is working with Hillwood Properties to make four vertiports - VTOL hubs with multiple takeoff and landing pads, and charging infrastructure - for Uber in Dallas starting next year, Holden said.

Uber has also teamed up with companies such as Bell Helicopter, Aurora, Pipistrel, Mooney and Embraer to make the flying taxis.

The company, which has partnered with the Dubai government, expects to conduct passenger flights as part of the World Expo 2020 in Dubai.

"What we're doing with them is they're going to be funding studies for demand modeling so that we can deeply understand pricing and network optimization in the Dubai area," Holden said.

Uber is valued at $68 billion and its investors include Goldman Sachs and GV, formerly known as Google Ventures .

The ride-hailing service has recently been rocked by a number of setbacks, including detailed accusations of sexual harassment from a former female employee and a video showing Chief Executive Travis Kalanick harshly berating an Uber driver.

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