Flying cars will be available in Texas within 10 years, says Uber boss
Uber chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi believes flying cars will be commercially available in the US within the next ten years.
The ride-sharing service is currently working on such a concept, called Uber Air (formerly Uber Elevate), where electric flying vehicles are hailed in the same way a car is today with the Uber app.
Speaking at the DLD technology conference in Munich, Khosrowshahi said: "There will be people flying around Dallas, Texas. I think it's going to happen within the next ten years."
Uber hosted its first 'Elevate Summit' in Dallas in 2017, where dozens of industry leaders discussed the possibility of a flying autonomous taxi service. The company said a year ago that flying cars would be ready to be demonstrated as soon as 2020.
Not to be confused with helicopters, the vehicles Uber and others have in mind more closely resemble drones. A capsule large enough for two or three passengers - plus a pilot, at least initially - is flown through the air by a number of downward-facing propellers, powered by electric motors.
The vehicles, which remain theoretical for now, will be 'VTOL', which stands for vertical takeoff and landing. Uber predicts a future where fleets of these vehicles park on building roofs, waiting to be summoned via a smartphone app.
As well as announcing Uber Elevate, the company used 2017 to partner with NASA to develop new traffic concepts which are hoped to enable autonomous flight services. These would operate at an altitude below helicopters and commercial jets, but above that of hobby drones and planned delivery drones, such as those being developed by Amazon.
Khosrowshahi previously said how flying autonomous vehicles make more sense than driverless cars when it comes to relieving pressure from congested city streets. Additionally, flying vehicles do not have to deal with the complexities of gridlocked roads, complicated junctions and unpredictable pedestrians.
As for Uber's current businesses, Khosrowshahi said he wants to expand on the company's hybrid and electric vehicle fleet in London "if they let us back in" - a reference to Uber, which still operates in the city, currently wrestling in UK court to be given its license back. He also predicted how Uber Eats will be the world's largest food delivery company before the end of 2018.
In November 2017, Uber announced it will purchase 24,000 Volvo SUVs to create a fleet of autonomous taxis.