The future of cars

The ride-sharing company Uber has set an ambitious goal to create a network of flying taxis in Dubai and the Dallas area by the year 2020.

At a recent summit in Dallas, company executives outlined plans to develop their own electric Vertical Takeoff and Landing aircraft, or VTOLs, that would use small landing pads called “vertiports.”

“It’s possible because we’re radically changing the type of aircraft,” Jeff Holden, chief product officer at Uber Technologies, said at the summit. “This is why we’re so bullish. … We just want to usher it in as fast as possible because we all want to live in this world.”

A futuristic fantasy for many, that world may now be closer to reality.

Still, flying cars face a number of logistical, technical and regulatory obstacles: Much as in the development of electric planes, battery limitations place boundaries on the duration of a flight in an all-electric flying car. But those hurdles have not stopped Uber and other Silicon Valley tech companies from launching aggressive initiatives to develop flying vehicles.

Uber, the ride-sharing company that in recent months has faced its share of lawsuits and scandals, published a white paper about “on-demand aviation” last fall, and earlier this year, the company hired longtime NASA aircraft engineer Mark Moore to help it develop flying cars.

Eventually, the company, which is also developing self-driving cars, thinks it can get the cost for a trip in an Uber flying taxi down to an ambitious $1.32 per passenger mile, with the overall goal of making it “economically irrational” to drive a car on the ground, Holden said.

Courtesy of Drive.com.au


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