Uber Outlines Its Lofty Ambitions for a Fleet of Flying Cars

Travis Kalanick and company look to the skies.

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Automotive
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Uber’s self-driving cars may have just hit the streets of Pittsburgh last month, but Travis Kalanick and company are already turning their attentions to something else: the skies. In a white paper published this week, the transportation network pioneer lays out its extensive plans to one day have a massive fleet of flying cars. And the most interesting part? The paper says the company plans to have the program up and running within a decade. As Jeff Holden, chief product officer, and Nikhil Goel, Uber Elevate and advanced programs product manager, write:

Imagine traveling from San Francisco’s Marina to work in downtown San Jose — a drive that would normally occupy the better part of two hours — in only 15 minutes. What if you could save nearly four hours round-trip between São Paulo’s city center and the suburbs in Campinas? Or imagine reducing your 90-plus-minute stop-and-go commute from Gurgaon to your office in central New Delhi to a mere six minutes.

Ultimately, the ambitious plan calls for the employment of small, electric vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) vehicles that could easily navigate not only congested metropolitan areas, but the skies above, too. Uber’s plan also calls for the flying cars to be autonomous, as hiring enough skilled pilots to operate the vehicles would undoubtedly be a road block with regards to the fleet’s rollout.

Uber is set to hold an Elevate Summit in 2017 to further outline the plan. In the meantime, you can read the 97-page white paper online in its entirety.

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