Bird? Plane? Uber.
So we already have UberX, UberBLACK, etc. on the roads; Dubai has UberYACHT and UberCHOPPER because they’re fancy as hell; but how does UberAIR sound?
Uber announced its desire to adapt existing technology in order to facilitate short flights within a heavily urban environment, to be designed to fit within the existing Uber operational & business formats. This vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) tech is hoped to be used frequently by Uber in the not-so-distant future. Coming off the back of their announcement that they’ll be testing self-driving cars as part of the Uber format within days, this is an exciting time for the ride-sharing platform that’s changing the game.
Jeff Holden, Uber’s Head of Products, spoke at The Nantucket Project Conference at the weekend. Making clear that the company has its sights well and truly set on the future of mobility, he said that the idea behind this development decision is rooted in the desire to offer customers “as many options to move around as possible”; going on to say that commercial use of VTOL aircraft could be a reality within a decade. Holden went on to note to that VTOL transport systems could help Uber customers of the future avoid time-consuming traffic jams as they don’t need a long runway for take-off and landing like traditional aircraft; they do, however, require sufficient space in which to land safely, which could pose potential issues when landing in heavily crowded urban spaces.
While we can all be agreed that we won’t be zooming around the skies above our cities à la Bruce Willis in The Fifth Element quite yet, it’s interesting that companies like Uber are thinking ahead about the possible commercial applications of this type of technology.