Uber’s Flying Car Idea: Prepared For Liftoff?

It’s a bird, plane — or an Uber? Not yet, but just you wait.

Uber said it’s exploring the flying car concept. Specifically, it’s looking at the viability of an aircraft that has the capabilities to take off and land vertically within cities.

This is all according to a whitepaper — nearly 100 pages long — the company just released entitled “Fast-Forwarding to a Future of On-Demand Urban Air Transportation.”

While it may sound like an April Fools’ Day idea, it’s clearly the opposite. The San Francisco-headquartered ridesharing business said it has plans to organize a conference to discuss the idea, which it calls VOTL — vertical on-demand takeoff and landing — but will later dub the program Uber Elevate.

Uber said in the whitepaper that it will seek to collaborate with vehicle developers, regulators and city and national government, as well as community stakeholders, as this concept develops.

And just like the current Uber model provides, the plan is for these vehicles to provide affordable, daily transportation that is — according to Uber — less expensive than owning a car.

Call it an arms race or even a “moonshot” idea of some sort, as Uber is likely eyeing competition with Alphabet and the entire self-driving car space. Recently, Google CEO Larry Page spent upwards of $100 million on Zee.Aero, a flying vehicle maker.

No doubt, it may be years before we see one of these things floating or zipping around in the air, but the whitepaper is humbly saying that the concept is ambitious but achievable. 


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