Uber wants to bring its vision of futuristic flying cars to Los Angeles as early as 2020. Notorious for its congestion, Chief product officer Jeff Holden suggested LA would be the company’s test city for UberAir when he spoke at the Web Summit conference in Lisbon this week.
The idea is that Uber’s flying taxi service concept, Uber Elevate, would be tried and tested to solve Los Angeles’ serious traffic problem by the 2028 Olympic Games, which is due to be held in LA. The company announced that similar trials would take place in Dallas and Dubai earlier this year.
Essentially Uber wants to recreate its on-demand car service, but for vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircrafts. The idea is that Uber customers could one day order a shared flight – akin to an UberX sharing taxing – for the price of a standard taxi. Naturally, however, there are plenty of hurdles to overcome first.
Firstly, Uber don’t have the infrastructure to build an entire fleet of flying cars by itself. Therefore the company have teamed up with some partners, with of them being none other than NASA. In order to make the LA trial happen, Uber has signed a Space Act Agreement to create a traffic control system that will manage the low-flying craft.
Uber have also teamed up with private equity property firm Sandstone Properties to create 20 landing pad locations – or as they’re calling them, ‘skyports’. Uber also come up with a design concept which looks very much like a small airplane with helicopter blades on its wings.
While it’s still in the concept phase, it does seem like the pieces are falling into place for UberAir. Holden even predicted that a 1 and 1/2 hour car journey could take less than 30 minutes with the service. Watch this space…