Uber is Taking to the Skies
The one area that we use for transportation that offers very little overall traffic compared to the available space is in the air. While roadways are congested and continue to grow to try and reduce this, the airways are open and a plane doesn’t need a special paved area to fly and be safe in the sky, except for the need of a runway to take off and land. For many years companies have thought about the possibility of having cars that fly or smaller transports in the air to shuttle us from one town to another.
Uber, the most popular raid hailing service in the world, is ready to take a vehicle to the skies and begin to offer flights that would get us from one place to another. The plan is to begin to have demonstration flights starting in 2020 and eventually offer these flights to paying customers by 2023 to make it possible for you to get where you need to go. A rendering has been released of what these small planes might look like with the expectation that the planes will be powered by batteries to make sure we can get up in the air and go.
Good Plan with Lots of Hurdles
Even though the idea of taking flight, knowing the sky isn’t as congested as the roadways we drive, seems like a fantastic idea, there are serious considerations that need to be taken into account to make this a reality. Right now the intention of an Uber plane, which was shown at an international technology conference in Lisbon, Portugal, is to have these small planes soar above the congestion in the city, which would mean the plane is going to ride along the same routes without the roadways.
If this plane/helicopter model from Uber is capable of vertical takeoff and landing, which will reduce the amount of space needed on the ground for this vehicle to travel. This vehicle would need to be certified by the authorities, there would need to be extensive pilot training, and an urban air traffic system would need to be put in place to prevent collisions and help these vehicles avoid running into wires and lines that are strewn from building to building above the roadways below. Because of these challenges, Uber needs a partner that understands their goals and can assist them in the development necessary.
In order to work toward making a flying taxi a reality, Uber is joining with NASA to help expand the air traffic systems. Many other companies already belong to this group, but adding a ride-sharing company to the mix certainly brings a unique set of priorities and a new perspective on what this new model could be for the travel above the streets below. Uber has already announced they will put some of their own money into the project and begin to assist in the development of what will be ride-hailing vehicles that can ride above the roadways in the future.