Story image

Uber aims to ‘elevate’ its service with flying taxis

Vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) aircraft will bring far-reaching changes to our cities and our lives, at least according to Uber. 

Quicker daily commutes, less traffic congestion, and cleaner air around the world. 

Uber Elevate has already started exploring the barriers that need to be overcome to make this a reality.

In Los Angeles and Sydney, residents spend seven whole working weeks each year commuting, two of which are wasted unproductively stuck in gridlock.

In many global megacities, the problem is more severe: the average commute in Mumbai exceeds a staggering 90 minutes. 

On-demand aviation has the potential to radically improve urban mobility, giving people back time lost in their daily commutes. 

Uber is supposedly close to the commute pain that citizens in cities around the world feel. 

They view helping to solve this problem as core to their mission and their commitment to the 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. 

A network of small, electric aircraft that take off and land vertically, will enable rapid, reliable transportation between suburbs and cities and, ultimately, within cities.

The development of infrastructure to support an urban VTOL network will likely have significant cost advantages over heavy-infrastructure approaches such as roads, rail, bridges and tunnels. 

It has been proposed that the 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). 

As costs for traditional infrastructure options continue to increase, the lower cost and increased flexibility provided by these new approaches may provide compelling options for cities and states around the world.

Furthermore, VTOLs do not need to follow fixed routes. 

Trains, buses, and cars all funnel people from A to B along a limited number of dedicated routes, exposing travellers to serious delays in the event of a single interruption. 

VTOLs, by contrast, can travel toward their destination independently of any specific path, making route-based congestion less prevalent.

Now VTOLs do sound somewhat preferable over one and a half hours of traffic to me. 

However, I’m not sure if Uber should be the company to do them.

Over the years there have been many incidents where Uber has been caught cutting corners for profit or hiding important information from riders. 

Most recently there was a fatal self-driving car accident, for which Uber was responsible. 

As much as I like flying, I’d prefer it if my VTOL did not fall out of the air or collide with the side of a building.

Apple mania! A brief look at Apple TV+, Apple Arcade, and Apple News+
Whether you’re after news, TV, or gaming, it seems like Apple is pulling out all the stops to get your attention.
Giveaway: Win the Huawei Y6 2019 with FutureFive
We’re back with the first giveaway of 2019, and once again Huawei is dishing out the goodies with a Huawei Y6 2019 smartphone up for grabs!
Meet the future of women in IT
Emily Sopers has just won Kordia’s first ever Women in Technology Scholarship, which was established to address gender imbalance in the information and communications technology (ICT) sector.
Vector penalised $3.5 million for excessive levels of power outages
''Given the impact electricity outages have on consumers and businesses it is crucial that lines companies have systems in place to identify and manage the risks present in their networks."
Game review: Tom Clancy’s The Division 2
Ubisoft has listened to all of the fan feedback and I can proudly say that Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 is a much better experience over the first game.
'Iwi Algorithm' can grow Aotearoa's mana
Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei innovation officer Te Aroha Grace says AI can help to combine the values from different cultures to help grow Aotearoa’s mana and brand – and AI is not just for commercial gain.
Why 'right to repair' legislation could be a new lease on life for broken devices
“These companies are profiting at the expense of our environment and our pocketbooks as we become a throw-away society that discards over 6 million tonnes of electronics every year.”
Hands-on review: Huawei Watch GT
I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time with the Watch GT. It’s converted me from being anti-smartwatch to someone who’s genuinely considering buying one.