In the second Back to the Future, Marty McFly goes to the year 2015, and he emerges into a world where there are self-lacing sneakers, the Cubs win the World Series, and cars can fly. Although the real 2015 did not feature any of these things, 2016 was a different story. Self-lacing Nikes will go on sale on November 28, and the Cubs had a miraculous comeback to win the World Series for the first time since 1908. And Uber recently made a big announcement that could change the way we travel.
Last month, Uber released a 99-page whitepaper that outlined its plans to have a network of small electric aircrafts that will be capable of vertical take-off and landing. The aircrafts will be a little different from the flying cars in Back to the Future because they won't be able to run on the ground. Instead, they will only function in the air, but they will provide incredible convenience for passengers looking to get to their destination in as quick as manner as possible.
In California, traffic is a major concern for those in cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco. It's no coincidence that Uber is leading the charge here. Not only is it located right in Silicon Valley, but it also sees great potential in offering private rides to passengers at a decent price point where they can bypass traffic and get to their destination in minutes. According to the whitepaper, Uber expects that the aircrafts will be able to go up to 150 mph, and they should be in use within five years. It expects rates to be comparable to UberX.
The project, which is being called Uber Elevate at the current time, will bring together innovators in technology as well as government bodies and infrastructure experts in order to solve the many logistic and regulatory issues that the projects will certainly face. Uber will not be developing the cars itself, but much of the technology is already there. We have seen battery technology in electric cars, for example, soar by leaps and bounds in the last few years, making the flying aircraft a possibility. This is due to the efforts of private companies like Rebling Plastics, which specializes in power connectors and lithium battery vent caps, as well as significant funding from the U.S. Department of Energy.
Although we don't know all of the details yet, 2016 showed that the future is here. Flying cars are now a realistic possibility.