The Flying Car Battle: Uber vs. Airbus
People have been dreaming of a flying car for decades. After all, who wouldn’t want to avoid road traffic during rush hour by simply flying above everyone? We may not be any closer to getting a non-time travel version of the flying DeLorean from the end of “Back to the Future,” but if Uber and Airbus are successful, there will soon be multiple taxis that use air transportation.
Uber’s Aerospace Goals
Earlier this year, Uber announced that they had hired former NASA employee Mark Moore to work on their flying car project. Known as Uber Elevate, this program is dedicated to looking for viable vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft. Ultimately, the company plans to offer a flying taxi service that would dramatically cut commute times. On-demand aviation of this type would almost certainly be quite expensive, but it’s also likely to represent the future of commuting.
Is a Self-Flying Taxi Possible?
Google has been working on a driverless car for several years, but is it possible that Airbus will beat them to the punch with a self-flying taxi? Although Google has already created and extensively road tested their driverless vehicle, there is still no known timetable for when consumers will be able to buy one. Meanwhile, Airbus is planning to begin testing a self-flying taxi by the end of the year.
The Airbus project seeks to provide transportation for one passenger at a time to anywhere within 50 miles. This may not be exactly what Uber has in mind, but Airbus has made it clear that they’re open to partnering with another company to get this technology off the ground. If plans come to fruition, the Airbus Vahana will be available as a self-flying taxi within 10 years. Airbus has been consulting with NASA, and Uber’s Mark Moore is confident that the concept will work.
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