Where are the flying cars? That’s what IBM kept asking around twenty years ago. We keep seeing enticing hints, but nothing solid seemed to develop. At least until now. Uber has announced a partnership with NASA (?!?!) to begin testing their flying ride-share hardware this year. And if they can get approval things could roll out quickly from there. (Associated Press)
NASA and Uber have signed an agreement to explore putting flying taxis in the skies over US cities.
NASA said Tuesday that it will begin simulations for so-called “urban air mobility” vehicles that also include delivery drones.
The announcement comes as the Uber Elevate summit in Los Angeles brings together tech and transportation leaders to discuss the future of urban aviation.
NASA says the goal is to create a rideshare network that will allow residents to hail a small aircraft the same way Uber users can now use an app to call a car.
Other companies developing flying cars have actually been producing tiny airplanes that can land on roads. Many of them still need a decent size runway to take off and land. Uber is going their own way (as usual) and launching what looks more like a giant drone. A couple of people can fit in the back and be whisked away at up to 200 miles per hour in a straight line toward their destination.
This has to be seen to be believed, so check out the video of their early concept vehicles.
So the future is here, eh? Flying vehicles you say. All of this is coming not that long after that woman was killed by a driverless vehicle in Arizona in March. And, of course, Tesla just had their own little crash of an autonomous car last week. And these are vehicles that stay on the ground where you can at least have a chance of walking away from a collision around town. Now you want us to get into your fancy, tiny taxi and go hundreds of feet in the air doing 200 miles per hour and trust a computer system to stick the landing?
I’m positive the day is coming when that will be happening. But I can assure you that it will be happening without me.