While we're most certainly living in The Future, we still don't have that one Jetsons-like marker: flying cars. Will Uber be the company to finally make it happen? On Friday, the ride sharing service announced Uber Elevate, an on-demand service for "urban air transportation" that they plan to have up and running within the next ten years.
Uber sees Elevate as a program that will help ease congestion on roads in urban areas, not to mention get air travelers to their destinations within minutes, rather than hours. For example, Uber estimates that the Elevate trip from the Marina in San Francisco to downtown San Jose would take just 15 minutes, an impressive savings of 85 minutes versus driving, and nearly two hours versus Caltrain.
The technology isn't that far off; according to aviation experts, the kind of electric VTOL (vertical take off and landing) aircraft that Uber would be using will be ready in the next five years. Any hold ups would be with the FAA, which doesn't currently have any regulations surrounding VTOLs.
While the initial costs of traveling via VTOL will be higher (about $129 for that San Francisco to San Jose leg versus $110 in an UberX), Uber's models show that it could be a much more affordable daily commute down the road ($43 in the short term, and just $20 long-term).