Uber plans to have us in flying taxis by 2020
Global transportation company Uber has set the ambitious target of introducing flying cars to its worldwide fleet of vehicles within just three years.
Uber Elevate announced plans to have flying vehicles by 2020 at a company summit, with chief product officer Jeff Holden saying it'll be as simple as "push a button and get a flight".
He said the use of vertical take-off and landing aircraft (VTOL) would carry "significant cost advantages" and be a way of solving transport infrastructure problems that require the construction of roads, tunnels and bridges.
In an in-app demonstration, the company showed how VTOL vehicles could reduce two-hour journeys to just 15 minutes in some cases, and showed in a beta platform how it could be chosen as an option alongside UberPOOL, where you share your ride with others, and UberXL, where you can order a larger vehicle.
For now, there are a number of logistical challenges to the prospect of Uber flights, including the creation of a flying vehicle that would be quiet, reliable and affordable enough, as well as new air traffic protocol and contracts with manufacturers.
Uber has already signed agreements with five VTOL companies, including Aurora Flight Sciences, Pipistrel Aircraft, Embraer, Mooney, and Bell Helicopter - the first of which has released a video showing how their flying vehicle would operate.
VTOL aircraft are electrically powered, meaning they produce no emissions - another indication that they may well be the future of the company.