Flying Over Los Angeles Traffic During the Olympics
As for residents of greater LA, they could be jetting around the city skyline by means of UberAIR within the next three years. Holden said the decision to expand the flying taxi service to the city notorious for crawling commutes and perpetual gridlock was a natural one.
“It’s one of the most congested cities in the world today,” he said. “They essentially have no mass transit infrastructure. This type of approach allows us to very inexpensively deploy a mass transit method that actually doesn’t make traffic worse.”
Though the city’s elected officials have already signed off, Uber plans to conduct community meetings to elicit residents’ concerns about noise, pollution, and access. Uber has also signed an agreement with a local property management company, Sandstone Properties, to develop rooftop launch pads.
Long has LA suffered from inadequate mass public transit, incapable of sustaining the city’s population, and the Uber Elevate project could be the key to solving this growing crisis. Uber predicts the currently one-and-a-half hour car journey from the LAX airport to the Staples Center downtown could take less than 30 minutes using UberAIR.
“LA is the perfect testing ground for this new technology, and I look forward to seeing it grow in the coming years,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti in a statement provided by Uber.
Holden anticipates LA residents will heavily rely on UberAIR by the time the city hosts the 2028 Olympics. He said, via MSN:
“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, whether more leisure time with friends and family or more time to work.
“At scale, we expect uberAIR will perform tens of thousands of flights each day across the city – at those levels, all the time savings will have a noticeable positive impact on the region’s economy.
“By the time the Olympics come in 2028, we believe Los Angeles residents will be making heavy use of UberAIR, showcasing one of the most advanced urban transportation systems to the world, and because uberAIR is all-electric from day one, it will have a net positive impact on the environment.”
Not Everyone Is a Believer
Of course, many people are skeptics with the notion that electric-powered flying cars are a realistic, economical pursuit, with experts predicting the engineering and regulatory hurdles preventing ventures like Uber Elevate from taking off. Elon Musk recently explained to Bloomberg why he doubts the future of flying cars widely populating the skies.
“Obviously, I like flying things. But it’s difficult to imagine the flying car becoming a scalable solution.”
Musk also shared his concern of objects falling from flying cars above, such as hubcaps or litter, subsequently injuring or killing pedestrians below.
But Holden dismisses Musk’s wariness.
“We’ve studied this carefully and we believe it is scalable,” Holden said. “We’ve done the hard work so we can build skyports, and can get the throughput operationally to move tens of thousands flights per day per city.”
Regardless of how you look at it, Uber is proposing a Jetsons-inspired future that has been constrained, as yet, to the realm of science fiction and the imaginations of those like Jeff Holden. But that didn’t stop German engineer Karl Benz from designing the first automobile, or the Wright brothers from the inventing the first successful airplane. Time will shortly tell if the metro transportation will see a future like the one Uber and others have envisioned.