UberAir Could Launch On-Demand Aircraft in Los Angeles by 2020
Uber already offers riders a variety of vehicle options to choose from, but the rideshare giant has more than just ground-based modes of transportation in mind for the future — including getting you to your destination via air.
Uber's head of product Jeff Holden announced on Wednesday that the it has plans to launch its aerial taxi service in Los Angeles by 2020. The new service its called UberAir, and plans are already in the works to launch similar operations in Dallas and Dubai.
Effectively, Uber customers will be able to request an UberAir ride, go to the nearest launchpad on a rooftop and hop in a small electric plane with propellors that allow the aircraft to take off and fly like a helicopter. Uber released a promotional video of how it envisions the service working:
"Technology will allow LA residents to literally fly over the city's historically bad traffic, giving them time back to use in far more productive ways," Holden said. "At scale, we expect UberAir will perform tens of thousands of flights each day across the city."
Uber announced that it's teamed up with NASA to develop a specialized air traffic control network, which will help the UberAir aircraft navigate the more-crowded skies. Managing the UberAir aircraft, as well as those within commercial airspace will take coordination between the two organizations.
Sandstone Properties and Uber also announced that the two signed an agreement to develop UberAir's Skyport rooftop takeoff and landing terminals. Sandstone has 20 buildings around LA, allowing for passengers to fly from one terminal to the next.
This is an exciting development from Uber. The company is saying that we could see these aircraft take to the skies by 2020, so it's not too distant in the future. Being able to avoid car traffic could be a game changer — especially in Los Angeles, a city notorious for bumper-to-bumper congestion.