Recently, the well-known transportation technology company Uber has made a deal with none other than the The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) regarding the Uber Air (Uber Elevate) project which revolves around flying urban civic transport.
Last year, Uber announced that they are looking into offering their customers with as much options for transportation as possible and utilizing the open air space seemed like an obvious next step. This has given birth to the Uber Elevate project. On the project’s site, Uber have posted a lengthy whitepaper which thoroughly describes the specifics of urban air transportation. Here is a link where you can download the whitepaper if you wish to obtain more detailed information regarding Uber Elevate.
The real difficulty with Uber air
Apparently, we already have the necessary advancements in technology that would soon allow us to have flying cars according to many researchers. This is good new for Uber Elevate and their aspiration to have VTOL (vertical takeoff and landing) aircraft flying around the cities of the world and allowing people to access a much faster and much more effective means of transport from one place to another.
However, there is a major setback and it isn’t what one would think it to be. Uber has a history of regulatory issues all over the world regarding its services offered by the Uber application. Different countries have different laws and it isn’t always possible to meet all requirements at once. That said, taking things up in the air is bound to cause even more regulatory difficulties. Birmingham professor David Dunn has pointed out that it would be a challenge to come regulate transportation aircraft flying around the open spaces above cities. For instance, how would such means of transportation would be licensed, insured or what would the police services look like for aircraft transport. There are a lot more similar questions to be answered before Uber Elevate could take off into the skies.
One thing to mention here is that Uber air wouldn’t be responsible for the actual manufacturing of the aircraft but rather for the software that would be used to manage them similarly to how the Uber app is currently used by customers to call for a taxi. This is also why the deal with NASA was struck.
Enter Uber Elevate!
Uber Elevate is certainly a bold project and now with its next step involving NASA, the future where we have flying cars seems to be closer than ever before. The possibilities that such a means of transport would open are endless. It has been reported that there are plans to begin Uber Elevate tests as early as 2020 in the cities of Dubai and Dallas.
Talking about futuristic sci-fi technology such as the Uber air project, recently we also learned that Waymo, a company that develops self-driving cars, has already started to invite regular people to take test rides in their fully-automated minivans. If you want to learn more about this, here is an article where we have covered that topic.