Arguably the most disruptive startup of the last years has come up with yet another revolutionary idea. Flying cars, or VTOL aircrafts, are the company's next project expected to come into our everyday reality in the next 10 years.
Uber has released a 97-page white paper outlining the company's development plan for the next stage of human transportation: flying cars. Being primarily the transportation medium in futuristic movies like Back to the Future, flying cars seem to finally stop being a fantasy thanks to Uber's next project, Uber Elevate.
The company's Chief Product Officer Jeff Holden posted an article accompanying the white paper where he talked about Uber's vision of their first flying taxi. Holden said that they envision the vehicle to be an aircraft that takes off and lands vertically using the already existing helicopter platforms on the rooftops. Vertical take-off and landing vehicles, or VTOL, will be electric aircrafts able to fly approximately 100 miles on a single charge with a speed of 150 miles per hour. Not surprisingly, self-driving flying taxis are the ultimate goal of the company, but the first aircrafts will rely on human pilots to operate them.
The company says that their flying cars will be the ultimate solution for today's traffic congestion problems in roughly all urbanized regions.
"Imagine traveling from San Francisco’s Marina to work in downtown San Jose — a drive that would normally occupy the better part of two hours — in only 15 minutes. What if you could save nearly four hours round-trip between São Paulo’s city center and the suburbs in Campinas? Or imagine reducing your 90-plus minute stop-and-go commute from Gurgaon to your office in central New Delhi to a mere six minutes," wrote Holden, as reported by Medium.
Currently, flying cars are very expensive to manufacture, even though startups developing such technology already exist, says The Verge. But in the near future Uber expects to offer taxi fares of $120 and eventually decrease them to as little as $20, what sounds completely bizarre at the moment.
The company says that its ultimate goal is not to become the first company offering flying cars but rather to "help the industry to get there faster" and to "start to play whatever role is most helpful to accelerate this industry’s development". In other words, Uber wants to become the "pioneer" of the new industry and to make it normal part of our daily lives as fast as possible.
Uber's white paper gives a very detailed outline of how they expect this technology to come into life but, honestly, not many of us expected to get these news already in 2016.
"Just as skyscrapers allowed cities to use limited land more efficiently, urban air transportation will use three-dimensional airspace to alleviate transportation congestion on the ground," said the company.