Uber Looking to Develop Drone Transportation

The days of waiting, wondering where your cab is, and sitting in traffic jams could soon be over. That is, at least, if Uber has anything to do with it. After the company’s successful launch of self-driving taxis last month in Pittsburgh, the online transportation network innovator has set its sights much higher.

As it waits for legislation to catch up with driverless technology, Uber is already carrying out research into the type of vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) technology commonly used in rotor drones today. The aim is to develop passenger transportation drones that are not restricted by traffic conditions. Driverless, flying taxis, in effect.

Such aerial vehicles may sound similar to helicopters, but Uber spokesman, Jeff Holden, recently told Recode that the drones “would use batteries and be more silent.”

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Just as with driverless cars, what was once the stuff of Sci-Fi, is already becoming a reality: Amazon’s delivery drones already use technology similar to Uber’s proposed passenger drones. Chinese tech startup Ehang has already revealed its $300,000 single-passenger drone, which could be released this year. Airbus, too, is reportedly developing a passenger drone, which it hopes to begin testing late next year.

According to Holden, everything from the way we travel around the world, to the way we travel to work could be revolutionized within a decade. As the population continues to grow, traffic jams seem to get longer and longer and as long as technology advances, the age of flying taxis looks inevitably imminent.

Andrew Maxwell

Andrew is a former journalist who now works as a freelance writer specializing in tech and gadgets. He currently resides in Thailand.

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