Uber’s Fleet of Flying Taxis

While all readers may have a slightly different take on what the future will look like, almost everyone can agree it will involve a more or less harmonic convergence of human and robotic cohabitation in iridescent floating cities surrounded by holographic projections of cosmic wonderment complete with sponsored messages from Supra Soaps and Potency Pharma. There will unquestionably be cars that fly.

Uber, with some help from our friends at NASA, is pushing to launch a fleet of flying taxis in Los Angeles — as soon as 2020! Los Angeles is forecast to be a trial market for Uber’s flying car project known as Elevate.

Elevate’s primary goal is to alleviate traffic congestion through the use of airborne mass transit. Provided the technology can be brought within reach, this epic re-conception of transit possibilities could readily find a home in cities which otherwise have too many land use constraints to meet increasing demand with conventional modes of mass transit service.

Safety will be a primary concern. We can safely expect some degree of chaos in the skies above Los Angeles. Such is the cost of progress. Picture a confluence of surveillance drones, flying taxis, personal jetpacks, delivery service drones, helicopters, airplanes, and our personal favorite, the long-hauling autonomous heavy freight dirigibles. The list of projected air traffic competitors goes on and on. That’s where NASA comes in.

Uber and NASA have already executed a Space Act Agreement which should lead to a next generation air traffic control system. Uber’s first mover advantage here should not be undersold: they are authoring their autonomous flying taxis into pole position in the future space grab for what may one day become a hotly contested and immensely valuable market niche.

Here’s an interesting video with more on Uber Elevate: