Uber Says Flying Taxis Will be a Reality By 2023

Thursday, 24 October 2019 - 2:04PM
Technology
Thursday, 24 October 2019 - 2:04PM
Uber Says Flying Taxis Will be a Reality By 2023
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Screenshot Uber/YouTube
For the two years that I lived and worked in Hollywood, California, I steadfastly refused to buy a car or drive: a position considered tantamount to insanity in a city that thrives on physical, as much as it does social, mobility. I had no desire to inhale exhaust fumes on the perpetually traffic-clogged interstate, no reason to deviate from my commute to my office in Century City, and no yearning to satisfy the inquiries made at bars and parties that begin with "what do you do?" and end with "what kind of car do you drive?" During my brief tenure among the beautiful people in the provinces of Hollywoodland, my transportation needs were filled by walking, catching the bus, or using Uber.  


Uber didn't solve the problems of L.A. traffic. If you're trying to get from Hollywood to, say, Malibu, getting caught in traffic is an inevitability. It's not a question of "if" or even "when," but rather how long you will be subjected to the dull sight of cars edging slowly towards the coast, regardless of whether you're driving or paying to be driven. Having said that, it was far better to not be the one driving. 


With urban infrastructures becoming increasingly strained under the burdens of a growing population, traffic literally isn't going anywhere. In the most dystopian visions of the future, freeways are invariably shown littered with deserted cars, still locked bumper to bumper by people attempting to flee some apocalyptic disaster or another. Uber, however, may have a solution for cities that are being pushed to the brink by automobile traffic: flying taxis. 


In an interview with Business Insider, Uber Spain Juan Galiardo claims that by 2023, UberElevate – Uber's aerial ridesharing project, which currently operates $200, eight-minute helicopter connections between Kennedy Airport and Manhattan (BI correctly notes that a trip by car can easily take between one and two hours) – will have functioning, flying taxis operating in "megalopolis" cities where, Galiardo delicately adds, "it's hell to get to work." Naturally, the first cities the helicopter-like taxis will launch in – or take off in, if you prefer – will be Los Angeles and Dallas. 


While the plan raises questions about licensing, air space and traffic, regulatory compliance, and, of course, safety and security concerns, it does fulfill the promises made by The Jetsons and Disney's Tomorrowland. That's a vision of the future that we can get behind: it certainly beats navigating an auto graveyard in the aftermath of a zombie apocalypse. 


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