Every few years or so, we hear some body of authority tell us life like the Jetsons is just around the corner.
The most recent major voice in the conversation is Uber.
They just published a 99-page report calling on governments and businesses to work together to make flying vehicles a reality within a decade.
The report introduced the ride-hailing company’s “Uber Elevate” service, which imagines a world where vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) vehicles zip through the air in utopian bliss.
Uber, a company now very much against traditional infrastructure like roads, rail, bridges and tunnels, wants to see “vertiports” and “vertistops” plotted atop buildings where its fleet of VOTL vehicles could rendezvous between journeys.
“As costs for traditional infrastructure options continue to increase, the lower cost and increased flexibility provided by these new approaches may provide compelling options for cities and states around the world,” Uber said.
The challenges are quite immense: electric battery capability, safety, air traffic control, pilot training and aircraft certification are all concerns for the technology, which dozens of companies around the world are currently working on.
While Uber will definitely be a player in the industry, which it will thenceforth disrupt, the company’s goal at the moment is to unite the pivotal agencies who can develop the vision.
“Our intent here is to contribute to the nascent but growing VTOL ecosystem and to start to play whatever role is most helpful to accelerate this industry’s development,” wrote Uber in an announcement on Medium. Someone get Elon Musk on the phone.
“Just as skyscrapers allowed cities to use limited land more efficiently, urban air transportation will use three-dimensional airspace to alleviate transportation congestion on the ground,” the company wrote.
Stay tuned for this announcement to form the basis of a future episode of Black Mirror.