UBER WANTS TO HELP you get away. In fact, it wants to help you fly awaaaay with an aerial taxi service slated for 2023.
But wash away those thoughts of a Jetsons-like flying car, as Uber’s showcased flying taxi prototype is more akin to the fruits of a rough and tumble liaison between a helicopter and a drone.
The quadcopter taxi has been designed for vertical take-off and landing much like those drones you see people using in parks to mess up people’s quiet time.
“Initial experimentation of this concept has revealed the potential for significantly quieter performance than traditionally paired rotors and improved overall performance,” said Uber, though it didn’t shed too much light on the challenges of powering the electric aircraft or indeed finding spots for them to take off and land in high volumes.
And according to various reports, the ride-sharing firm spouted at its Elevate conference in LA that it will fill the skies with thousands of the short-range flying machines in a few years time.
To do this, it has partnerships with NASA and the US aeronautics agency to create a model for an air-traffic control system, presumably with the idea of preventing the flying taxies from ploughing into each other and various tall buildings, planes and birds.
“We think cities are going to go vertical in terms of transportation and we want to make that a reality,” Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi told CBS News.
This is a bold ambition given the there are not only engineering challenges to overcome, but also a bucket load of regulations to work with to get the whole idea off the ground. But Uber isn’t a company lacking in confidence and revealed that Dubai will now join Dallas and LA as the third major city to host demonstration flights of UberAir, as the service will be called, in 2020.
The overall idea of the aerial taxi service is to provide cities with more than two million citizens spread out over a large and dispersed area with the means to quickly get in and out of central spots.
Getting self-driving cars on the road is still a challenging prospect given all the regulatory hurdles and the occasional crash, it’s more likely we’ll see the odd flying pig before Uber truly launches a widespread aerial taxi service. µ
Source : Inquirer