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Those magnificent men and their flying machines

Uber Flying Car Project cream magazine @2x

There’s no doubt everyone is fed up with traffic these days. But thanks to the brilliant minds at Uber, a solution may not be too far away.

Elevate, Uber’s “flying car” project, is looking to make bumper-to-bumper frustration a thing of the past by taking to the skies.

The aerial taxi service would still involve using an app to book, but boarding would now take place at “skyports” on roofs of nearby buildings. Then the passenger would badge through a turnstile using his or her smartphone — security is non-existent in this futuristic vision — and would be briefly weighed to make sure that he or she is not too heavy for Uber’s weight-conscious flying taxis.

From this point, smiling agents wearing headsets, goggles, and Uber-branded vests would lead the passengers across the roof to their awaiting aircraft, which appears to be a plane-helicopter hybrid with fixed wings and tilt prop-rotors. Once settled in, the journey would be made all the sweeter by peering out the window at all the poor souls stuck in traffic below.

This might all sound like pie-in-the-sky kind of thinking, but according to Uber’s head of production, Jeff Holden, the company is looking to pilot its aerial taxi service by 2020. In a speech at the Web Summit in Lisbon this week, Holden announced Uber would be adding Los Angeles to its list of places where it hopes to test-run the service (the other two cities are Dallas-Fort Worth and Dubai).

If this wasn’t exciting enough, Uber has just revealed it has signed a Space Act Agreement with NASA to help develop the new air traffic control system that will manage these low-flying, possibly autonomous aircraft.

When it comes to getting around, it looks like the sky really is the limit.  Chris Prindiville

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