Future Technology

Uber and A³ Got So Much Ideas for Flying Taxis

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flying cars, prototypes of flying taxis
Photo shows the Terrafugia drivable aircraft photographed at the 2012 New York International Auto Show.

Fed up with traffic? Here is news from the online ride-hailing transportation company Uber. The flying taxi may be at hand sooner or later.

As far as Uber is concerned, the timetable may be by 2026. The global online transportation network company recently released a lengthy white paper outlining the cost, safety, training as well as assessment of market feasibility barriers for its on-demand urban air transportation called the VTOL (Vertical Take-off and Landing) aircraft.

Apart from Uber, Google co-founder Larry Page also has a “flying car” project on the drawing board under a start-up firm named Zee.Aero. The prototype was reportedly spotted in action at Hollister Municipal Airport in October.On the other hand, Airbus’ Silicon Valley arm, called A³ (pronounuced A-cubed) has been working on Project Vahana.

On the other hand, Airbus’ Silicon Valley arm, called A³ has been working on Project Vahana.

Welcome News for Disgruntled Commuters & Motorists

Uber’s announced plans for a “flying taxi” caught the interest of individuals from different parts of the world tired of stressful commutes.

Founded by entrepreneurs Garrett Camp and Travis Kalanick in 2009, Uber has made great strides, becoming ubiquitous in key cities across the world. However, it also had to deal with controversies like scuffles between Uber chauffeurs and taxi drivers as well as tensions with taxi unions in certain parts of the world, including France.

Prototypes of the Flying Car

Prototypes of a “flying taxi” or car have been built since the early part of the twentieth century, but no flying car has yet reached production status. One company, Terrafugia, working to get its flying car off the ground by 2025 (depending a lot on how conversations with the FAA go), hinted at seeing flying cars in everyday life in a few years’ time.

Several other companies besides Uber and Terrafugia have focused attention on improving transportation systems, particularly flying cars, of late. Project Vahana is a single-manned, autonomously piloted aircraft, also touted as a solution to the poor public transport system.

Impractical and unworkable? Not so, said the startup firm’s CEO Rodin Lyasoff, who recently revealed that the full-size prototype is targeted by end of 2017, and the “productizable demonstrator”  by 2020.

Notwithstanding its legacy of working with the Federal Aviation Administration, Project Vahana man-at-the-helm Zach Lovering said plans to come out with the production version of its VTOL aircraft within four years may have to wait until regulatory hurdles and building of suitable air infrastructure are smoothened out. A safe flight, as well as charging stations at landing sites, are considered paramount concerns.

Photo Source:  Wikimedia Commons

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