In October of 2016, Uber published a lengthy white paper outlining its plan to further revolutionize the transportation industry. Over the course of 100 pages, Uber detailed new initiative dubbed Uber Elevate, a fledgling program that aims to develop a fleet of flying cars capable of picking up and dropping off customers from designated rooftops. Speaking to the seriousness with which Uber takes the program, Uber Elevate is spearheaded by a former NASA engineer with an impressive and exhaustive background involving flying car technologies.
As to the benefits Uber envisions its program will introduce, the company’s white paper explains in part: “On-demand aviation, has the potential to radically improve urban mobility, giving people back time lost in their daily commutes. Uber is close to the commute pain that citizens in cities around the world feel. We view helping to solve this problem as core to our mission and our commitment to our rider base. 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.”
Since its introduction more than a year ago, we haven’t heard much about the Uber Elevate program, save for statements the company is still trying to identify locations where the technology can be tested. As of last year, Uber indicated that it plans to have a demo vehicle ready to show off by 2020, an ambitious timeline to say the least.
Shedding some more light on Uber’s ongoing research into the area of flying taxis, Uber CDO Dara Khosrowshahi recently said (via Reuters) that he expects flying vehicles will ultimately become an affordable way to travel.
What’s more, Khosrowshahi added that flying taxis may become a reality in as little as 5-10 years.