Uber on Thursday Unveiled futuristic plans for what it called “on-demand urban air transportation.” This is part of the company’s push to transform the transportation structure, and also cut down on the amount of productive time wasted during long commutes, it said.
Uber’s so-called on-demand aviation aims to “radically improve urban mobility.” The company said its vision is similar to how skyscrapers enabled cities use limited land more efficiently. Uber, through its Urban air transportation, plans to “use three-dimensional airspace to alleviate transportation congestion on the ground.”
A network of small, electric aircraft that take off and land vertically (called VTOL aircraft for Vertical Take-off and Landing), will enable rapid, reliable transportation between suburbs and cities and, ultimately, within cities, according to Uber.
Repurposed tops of parking garages, existing helipads, and even unused land surrounding highway interchanges could form the basis of an extensive, distributed network of “vertiports” (VTOL hubs with multiple takeoff and landing pads, as well as charging infrastructure) or single-aircraft “vertistops” (a single VTOL pad with minimal infrastructure), the company said.
VTOLs can travel toward their destination independently of any specific path, making route-based congestion less prevalent, explained Uber.
Uber is not the first company to come up with visions for flying vehicles, Airbus recently unveiled plans for its flying taxis, while Tesla’s Elon Musk has revealed his plans for Hyperloop, involving flying pods and ambitiously set for 2020.
On Wednesday, an Uber self-driving truck successfully completed a delivery of 51,744 cans of beer.