Uber is taking to the skies with its next project called "flying cars" although the company is still facing problems on the ground.
On Tuesday, the ride-hailing company announced plans for an on-demand network of electric aircraft that can take off and land vertically, like a helicopter. It wants to test a network for such vehicles by 2020.
The company says its partners in this Elevate initiative include real estate companies, aircraft manufacturers, electric vehicle charger makers and the cities of Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas.
Flying taxis would cut down travel time between San Francisco's Marina to downtown San Jose to 15 minutes, compared with the more than two hours it takes by road, Uber estimates.
In an early scale operation, the company can get to $1.32 per passenger mile, a little higher than taking an UberX for a similar distance, Chief Product Officer Jeff Holden said.
The company is working with Hillwood Properties to make four vertiports - VTOL hubs with multiple takeoff and landing pads, and charging infrastructure - in Dallas starting next year, Holden said.
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.