Meet Ge­orge Jet­son: Uber sees fly­ing com­muters in 10 years

Kuwait Times - - TECHNOLOGY -

SAN FRAN­CISCO:

Fly­ing com­muters like Ge­orge Jet­son could be whizzing to work through the sky less than 10 years from now, ac­cord­ing to ride-ser­vices provider Uber, which be­lieves the fu­ture of trans­porta­tion is lit­er­ally look­ing up.

Uber Tech­nolo­gies Inc re­leased a white pa­per on Thurs­day en­vi­sion­ing a fu­ture in which com­muters hop onto a small air­craft, take off ver­ti­cally and within min­utes ar­rive at their des­ti­na­tions. The fly­ers would even­tu­ally be un­manned, ac­cord­ing to the com­pany.

It sounds like the open­ing se­quence to “The Jet­sons”, the 1962 US car­toon about a fu­ture filled with mov­ing side­walks, ro­bot house­keep­ers and space­flight, but Uber sees fly­ing rides as fea­si­ble and even­tu­ally af­ford­able.

Uber al­ready of­fers he­li­copter rides to com­muters in Brazil. The com­pany plans to con­vene a global summit early next year to ex­plore on-demand avi­a­tion, in which small elec­tric air­craft could take off and land ver­ti­cally to reduce con­ges­tion and save time for long-dis­tance com­muters, and even­tu­ally city dwellers.

Other en­vi­sions

Others have also en­vi­sioned such air­craft, akin to a he­li­copter but with­out the noise and emis­sions. Ver­ti­cal take­off and land­ing air­craft (VTOL) have been stud­ied and de­vel­oped for decades, in­clud­ing by air­craft mak­ers, the mil­i­tary, NASA and the Fed­eral Avi­a­tion Ad­min­is­tra­tion.

Uber is al­ready ex­plor­ing self-driv­ing tech­nol­ogy, hop­ing to slash costs by elim­i­nat­ing the need for driv­ers in its core busi­ness of on-demand rides. On­de­mand air trans­port marks a new fron­tier, set squarely in the fu­ture.

Uber’s vi­sion, de­tailed in a 97-page doc­u­ment, ar­gues that on-demand avi­a­tion will be af­ford­able and achiev­able in the next decade as­sum­ing ef­fec­tive col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween reg­u­la­tors, com­mu­ni­ties and man­u­fac­tur­ers.

—AFP

PITTS­BURGH: This file photo taken on Septem­ber 13, 2016 shows An­thony Le­vandowski, Otto Co-founder and VP of Engi­neer­ing at Uber, speak­ing to mem­bers of the press dur­ing the launch of the pi­lot model of the Uber self-driv­ing car at the Uber Ad­vanced Tech­nolo­gies Cen­ter.

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