Following the hiring of a NASA engineer to develop flying cars earlier this year, Uber has announced that by 2020, it plans to launch at least a few flying cars in Los Angeles, with a real commercial service to follow a few years later.
The company has insisted that it wants to help build an ecosystem that makes a flying service possible and Uber's chief product officer, Jeff Holden, said in a statement, “UberAIR will be performing far more flights over cities on a daily basis than has ever been done before. Doing this safely and efficiently is going to require a foundational change in airspace management technologies.”
In order to execute this new service, Uber has also announced it’s helping NASA develop its Unmanned Traffic System for Unmanned Aerial Systems, and while the vehicles themselves haven't been finalized, Uber is also working with respected aerospace partners at Embraer, Bell Helicopter, Pipistrel, Aurora Flight Sciences and Mooney Aviation to construct the vehicles.
While it's still a while until demonstration flights will be conducted, Uber is proposing point-to-point transport from airpads, but eventually having to contend with aerial congestion from vehicles waiting to land and departure of passengers, which the company hopes to move around 20 people an hour from one side of a city to another, and a commercial service, which will move thousands to be cost efficient.
Furthermore, with Uber having signed an agreement with developer Sandstone Properties to install skyports on the roof of 20 of its buildings in the LA area, and more to follow, this new service is intended to cost the same as an UberX car trip does now, offering everyone a chance with another form of immediate transportation.
In other design news, Steve Jobs’s BMW Z8 is going to auction for $400K+.