TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Uber Technologies Inc. said Thursday it will choose from five countries including Japan to test its flying taxi services, aiming to launch the commercial operation in 2023.
The other candidate countries are Australia, Brazil, France and India, the company said. The selection will be finalized within six months and demonstrator flights are planned to start in 2020.
Uber picked the five countries based on such criteria as population and lack of extreme weather. The U.S. firm said Japan is one of the countries with the most advanced public transportation systems.
With already chosen Dallas and Los Angeles, the three cities will be the first to host Uber's test of flying taxi services.
Barney Harford, chief operating officer of Uber, said in Tokyo that its flying taxi, or uberAIR, will be a new efficient means of transportation which saves a lot of time.
The company plans to develop electric flying cars which could take off and land vertically with its top speed at 320 kilometers per hour at the altitude of 300 to 600 meters. The vehicle would fly up to 96 km on a single charge.
Japan has backed up developing flying cars and launched a public-private council, hoping the new vehicle will play a role in mountainous areas and remote islands as well as in the event of natural disasters.
The council held its first meeting on Wednesday, joined by over 20 experts and businesses including ANA Holdings Inc., Subaru Corp. and Uber, with the aim of drawing up a road map within a year and putting flying cars into practical use in the 2020s.