Uber has been making the most amount of noise when it comes to the plans by tech companies about the launch of autonomous vehicles. This company that turned people with cars and smartphones into a transportation fleet to rival taxis, has set its sights on something much larger.
The fast-growing ride-sharing company was seriously looking at a new form of transportation to offer its customers. They have plans for the research and development of small planes which can vertically take off and land (VTOL), in order to make short range flight travel inside cities.
VTOL is an aircraft that can hover, take off and land vertically, which would also describe a helicopter. However, unlike the typical helicopter, these planes have multiple rotors, could have fixed wings and perhaps would use batteries and be more silent. In the future, like cars, such aircraft would be made autonomous.
There are many advantages of VTOL vehicles. First of all, they can land and take off using small pads, like helicopters, instead of the large and inconvenient runways of airplanes. Secondly, once in the air, VTOL craft often convert to plane-like flight, maximizing efficiency as they soar through the sky with wings, not spinning blades, providing lift.
The quick-flight services would be flitting from rooftop to rooftop in cities, carrying multiple passengers. Not only does this mean that every building would be like an airport, but commute times and road congestion for those down below would be reduced.
VTOL is certainly a step further in ambition, but the actual development of these vehicles would be a really long process. There are a plenty of startups in the space, and big companies that experiment with VTOL, too. Aeronautics giant Airbus recently unveiled research on air taxis for cities. This could serve both passengers and cargo.
In just a few years, traveling from place to place could be a whole new process. Fasten your seat belt!