Uber Elevate by 2020

Ride sharing company Uber has unveiled detailed plans for a flying taxi service - and it could be up and running sooner than you think.

At a web conference in Portugal, Uber's Chief Product Officer Jeff Holden revealed what the machines will look like, how they'll work and how much a ride will cost.

"Our target, and this is ambitious, but I think it's very achievable, is to make this less expensive than driving your own car," Jeff Holden says.

"We think, once we've stabilised after launch, we'll be able to offer you an Uber Air flight, for the cost of an Uber X trip on the ground".

Uber has teamed up with NASA to develop an air-traffic control system, covering low-altitude airspace rather than outer space.

Uber wants demonstration machines flying in Los Angeles by 2020.

It then aims to have its first paying customers in Los Angeles by 2023, and a fully airborne ride sharing industry in time for the 2028 LA Olympics.

"This all electric bad boy flies 150 to 200 miles an hour (240 to 320 kph). It ranges up to 60 miles (100 kilometres) in a single battery charge at launch time for us, and you can imagine what this does to commutes. You can imagine the gnarliest commutes, hour, hour-and-a-half, two hours on the ground becoming just a handful of minutes in the air. That's pretty exciting". 

"We're looking to the skies because this is right down the middle for our mission of urban mobility. We want to crack the code on transportation in cities, of people and things" Mr Holden added.