This past September, an Uber executive revealed that the company was entertaining the idea of launching some type of flying vehicle that could enable it to transport customers in the sky rather than on the road. The flying vehicles would be of the VTOL variety — that is, they would be aerial vehicles that take off and land vertically. Now the company has revealed that it will begin testing such ‘flying cars’ within the next three years, and that the testing will, at least, take place in Dallas-Forth Worth and Dubai.
Uber announced the news in Dallas today, saying that it is entering into partnerships with various companies to get the foundation for this testing in place. Both Dubai and the Dallas-Fort Worth region are on board for letting Uber test its flying vehicles, something that will take place by the year 2020.
The move is an ambitious one for the troubled company, which has also been dedicating ample resources towards the development of its own self-driving car fleet. While cars on the road won’t be going anywhere any time soon, cities have a growing problem with congested roads and long commute times, something that causes, among other things, environmental harm as masses of cars idle on the road.
Uber has long positioned its service as a way to help address these issues — rather than someone taking their own vehicle out, they can utilize the service of an Uber car which can transport many people to their destinations in a single day. The benefits, in this regard, improve with things like Uber’s carpooling feature, allowing multiple customers to share the same vehicle.
Still, growing cities will need to develop new ways to handle the number of drivers that need to get around, and that may be achieved by taking to the skies, instead. Previously, Uber indicated that its VTOL flying vehicles may be able to travel at more than 100MPH, operate quietly due to electric motors, and travel more than 200 passenger-miles on what works out to the equivalent of a single gallon of fuel. Whether battery technology will be sufficiently developed within three years to sustain these vehicles is yet to be seen.