Israeli startup designs electric-powered passenger jets to be "Uber in the sky"

An all-electric, self-piloting passenger plane that will offer passengers seats costing no more than a bus pass is under development and may be ready to fly by 2019. The startup developing it envisions their flight service as "Uber meeting Tesla in the sky."
By Rick Docksai | Oct 19, 2017
Omer Bar-Yohay hopes to make airline travel as easy as hailing an Uber. Eviation Aircraft, an Israeli startup of which Bar-Yohay is chief executive, is developing a self-piloting, electric aircraft that passengers will be able to buy seats on via a simple smartphone app. Bar-Yohay described his company's vision Tuesday as "Uber meeting Tesla in the sky" in a presentation at the WSJD Live Conference in Laguna Beach, Calif.

"I think it makes super-commuting not so super anymore; you just go. That is the vision," he said.

Eviation's airplane would operate out of small regional airports. Passengers could Uber to the airport and use their phones to request a flight as soon as they are at the terminal. There would be no standing in line at a ticket counter or logging onto the airline's website weeks in advance to book a flight.

The ticket would also cost far lessmaybe as little as "a bus ticket," Bar-Yohay predicts. He said that since the airplane would not need fuel and would not need heavy fuel-burning engines, it would be far cheaper to operate.

Eviation started two years ago with some seed capital from private donors and the Israeli government. It has spent $10 million so far on the project and aims to raise another $10 million funds to complete it.

The company flew a small-scale prototype of its airplane at the Paris Air Show earlier this year. The company states that it is planning to debut a full-sized model capable of carrying passengers in 2019.


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