The flying car has long been the last bastion of our world falling into imaginary technological chaos. Anyone who’s grown up on sci-fi knows that it’s one of the last imaginings of the pre-internet world that’s yet to come true (apart from the pervasive use of holograms but, really, how useful is that when we’ve already got FaceTime?). This week, we discovered that we’re finally on that threshold, thanks to transport masters Uber.
The ride-sharing company announced on Tuesday that it’ll be adding flying cars to its portfolio, and adding them to the fleet as early as 2020, with a planned roll-out of airborne vehicles in Dallas and Dubai in just three short years. And while we’re suitably impressed (and scared) of this possibility being so close in terms of timing, we’re more impressed with the fact that others are saying it’s probably going to be more than just an idea.
“I think 2020 is realistic for a vehicle that is not replacing an airplane, but replacing a car,” the director of the Flight Research Center at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Richard Pat Anderson, has said.
The company has even gone so far as to forecast an estimate of how many aircrafts and charging spots each city would need (1,000 crafts and 12 charging spots each would apparently serve three to four cities) and sign with companies that have already started developing electric vertical takeoff and landing aircrafts.
Hoping to be the pioneers of this new frontier, Uber will boldly take on the legalities and infrastructure challenges that are sure to arise in development of something that has never previously existed, opening the door for other entrepreneurs to get a foot hold. So, strap in. It’s gonna be breezy up there.