The sky is the limit for the popular ride-hailing app, Uber. The company announced Tuesday that it intends to roll out a network of flying cars, or VTOLs (aircraft capable of vertical takeoff and landing) beginning in Dallas-Fort Worth and Dubai by 2020. And as reported by the NY Post, one of Uber’s partners, Blade helicopter service, aims to make New York City a target for its plan within five years. If so, these vehicles, which travel at 200 mph, could take passengers from Manhattan to JFK Airport in as little as five minutes.
During a panel at an Uber event in Dallas, the chief executive of Blade, Rob Wiesenthal, said he is part of a working group with the cab company to explore bringing VTOL transportation to NYC. Wiesenthal said: “We want to bring VTOL to NYC as quickly as possible and we want the public to see them, trust them and try them and hear them. Our goal is in five years that Blade will enable New Yorkers to reduce the time and friction of their commutes on an on-demand basis.”
VTOLs are not exactly flying cars as they are more similar to battery-operated helicopters. Uber says the cost of a VTOL could be low as $1.32 per mile, which matches the current rate of an UberX car. Questions about how quickly this could become a mainstream way to commute have been raised, as have similar queries about safety precautions.
While Uber confirmed the existence of a working group dedicated to researching the idea, a spokesperson said the company has no immediate plans to bring VTOLs to the Big Apple. The company said it’s working with manufacturers like Bell, Aurora, Pipistrel, Embraer and Mooney to build the VTOLs for Dallas and Dubai.
Uber’s chief product officer, Jeff Holden, said flying cars represent “the pinnacle of urban mobility–the reduction of congestion and pollution from transportation, giving people their time back, freeing up real estate dedicated to parking and providing access to mobility in all corners of a city.”
[Via NY Post]
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