Uber Everywhere?

Jacob Dominguez, Writer

   Uber Everywhere, maybe the name of a popular song, but what if that’s literally already happening on land and sky? Uber has plans for the future to eventually make your uber fly instead of drive in the future.

    This is what Jeff Holden, the Chief Product Officer told people at the Nantucket Conference that the company was researching the possibility of a self-driving vertical take-off and landing service for future commutes to take you anywhere, but even though the technology is there doesn’t mean there aren’t a few obstacles in the way of this coming to fruition. The goal of this is in the words of Holden is, “We can someday offer our customers as many options as possible to move around,” and describes it as, “Doing it in a three-dimensional way is an obvious thing to look at.” This is expected to happen within the next decade, but this isn’t the first time Uber used such a different way to move around town, as they have tested self-driving cars in Pittsburg, UberCHOPPER during the summer of 2013 in San Paulo, Brazil, where they would drive you to a heliport and they fly to multiple in-city destinations.

    Now the concept may sound like something from the future, the technology has been practical since the 1930’s with helicopters being the successful models. As the purpose of them is to eliminate the need of a runaway, but now we have tiltrotors such as the Boeing V-22 Osprey transport or combat jets that must operate in small runaways, yet there are still many technical problems that come with them, with none going beyond the prototype phase.

    Yet the closest anyone has ever gotten with this technology was in 1950’s U.K and it was called the Fairey Rotodyne. Which had a built in rotor on the top and two front facing engines on the wings. It could rise like a helicopter and then fly like a plane, also it was capable of carrying fifty to seventy people and cargo as well, yet it was cancelled despite interest from many European  helicopter manufacturers.

    Even though the optimism is clearly their, many roadblocks are blocking it such as creating new legislation that could take years for approval, the question of how exactly they are going to have launchpads be ready, cost, safety, and how to avoid aircraft. Of course this will all be solved in the future, but no details of how to solve these have been confirmed.
    Yet their are are a few positives in these situations, such as if this actually happens it will eliminate heavy traffic congestion and commute time in many highly populated cities. With Uber laying out an ambitious plan of an advanced future with projects that have very few details about them, all that we know is that taking an Uber will never be the same.