CALIFORNIA, U.S. - From faster cars to sophisticated ride - Uber sure has made conveyance smooth and readily available at the click of a button - but the company’s new plans are the stuff ...
• Uber made the revelation in a white paper published by the company
• It has detailed plans for Uber Elevate, its new division for rides through flying cars
• Company hopes to roll out the program within a decade
CALIFORNIA, U.S. - From faster cars to sophisticated ride - Uber sure has made conveyance smooth and readily available at the click of a button - but the company’s new plans are the stuff that contemporary fantasies are made of.
Uber, in a 97-page white paper published this week, has detailed plans for its new division, Uber Elevate, that would offer rides through flying cars.
The company has vowed that the plan will be put into action and rolled out within a decade.
Jeff Holden, Uber’s chief product officer, and Nikhil Goel, the company’s product manager for Uber Elevate and advanced programs, said in the white paper, “Imagine traveling from San Francisco’s Marina (district) to work in downtown San Jose — a drive that would normally occupy the better part of two hours — in only 15 minutes.”
This, the company believes would help ease out the burden on the roads in heavily congested areas and in line with its plans, Uber has announced a global summit in early 2017 to explore on-demand aviation, in which small electric aircraft could take off and land vertically for both long and short distances. It will reportedly reach out to stakeholders within the next six months.
For the project, the company is said to be relying on Vertical take-off and landing aircraft (VTOL), or “a network of small, electric aircraft that take off and land vertically” as opposed to expensive and noisy helicopters.
According to reports, VTOLs are also cheaper, quieter, and better for the environment than gas-powered helicopters.
The company, however, pointed out that since these would be flying vehicles - battery technology would still need to improve and there will need to be some air-traffic control mechanism in place. Cost too is bound to be a factor that will have to be dealt with, if not in the initial phase, at a later stage. Uber, in its document, said it believes on-demand aviation will be affordable and achievable in the next decade assuming effective collaboration between regulators, communities, and manufacturers. Uber even predicted that eventually, VTOLs for transport could be less expensive than owning a car.
Even though the eventual aim would be to make these vehicles too self-driving - in its initial phase, these vehicles also will need properly trained pilots at the controls.
Uber, that currently offers helicopter rides to commuters in Brazil, is however, not the only company with its sights set on such a flying aircraft. In fact, even the military, NASA and the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration has explored VTOLs, conducting unending research and development in the area.