November 10, 2017 at 3:00 PM
Uber is hoping it will be able to launch flying cars in the form of its UberAIR service by 2020, with a commercial service to follow in the following years.
Having already made agreements to run in Dallas and Dubai, the vision for the firm - revealed in a new video, is that customers would request UberAIR in the company's app, head to the roof of the nearest tall building, pass through a turnstile to access the roof, and a piloted white helicopter-drone hybrid would whisk up to four passengers away to their destination - at a ground speed of up to 200mph.
There is no surprise that launching a completely new method of transportation has its challenges including considerations for local air traffic control, negotiating suitable routes, and addressing noise pollution concerns, and of course, sourcing a fleet of flying cars. However, much like Uber's current business model, they are not looking to build their own vehicles or hire air traffic controllers - instead, acting more as a catalyst.
“UberAIR will be performing far more flights over cities on a daily basis than has ever been done before,” the company's chief product officer, Jeff Holden acknowledges. “Doing this safely and efficiently is going to require a foundational change in airspace management technologies.”
It's looking like the first flights will operate on set routes, with users responsible for making their way to the UberAIR pick-up point and away from the drop-off point to reach their final destination. Whilst Uber is working with aerospace partners who are assisting with the technical challenges of building a passenger drone.