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Uber Elevate

Brendan Piatt, Staff

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Transportation technology company Uber has set large objectives for themselves that the company wishes to achieve by 2020. Their goal is to have quicker travel rates, less traffic, and a cleaner environment not only in the U.S, but around the world via flying cars, or more scientifically, vertical takeoff and landing aircraft. The project, titled Uber Elevate, has numerous obstacles to overcome to transform this ambition into reality.

 

The “Taxi” service has said previously that they plan to debut the service in Dallas-Fort Worth and Dubai by 2020 and on November 7 of 2017, Los Angeles has been added to that lineup.

 

As already stated, the goal of this program is to have quicker travel rates, less traffic on the streets, and a cleaner environment. It is known that the fastest way between two points is a straight line, rather than following long, winding, and congested roads full of traffic. Rather than using these long and complicated routes, you could travel through the air directly to your destination. Traveling this way would save substantial amounts of time and can be seen with this example from San Francisco to downtown San Jose. The average trip on the Caltrain takes two hours and twelve minutes along a 55.4 mile route. The average trip between the two destinations via UberX would take one hour and forty minutes along a 56.9 mile route, the shortest available while driving. With Uber Elevate, the journey from San Francisco to San Jose would only be a mere 15 minutes along a 43.3 mile route, the shortest route that could possibly be taken. That’s a tenth of the amount of time it would take on the Caltrain and six and a half times faster than UberX. Uber Elevate would save extremely large amounts of time that could be used for making dinner, catching up on T.V. shows, spending time with the people you love most, and an infinite amount of other things. That is if the company can overcome their hurdles and bring the paper designs into real life.

 

The design for the vehicle used for example would have to be practical and able to use on a mass scale if the service does take off in the future. Helicopters are too expensive, loud, inefficient, and would pollute the environment too much for mass use. The solution? An all electric propulsion aircraft that could look something like the image on the left. This is not likely what it will look like exactly, as Uber has dozen of designs from dozens of companies. This all electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft would be just like any electric car. It would put out absolutely no pollutants, and would create virtually no noise and would be much more efficient by using battery power in place of fossil fuels. In the last decade electric cars have become more popular than ever before, and the technology, specifically the batteries, continue to be developed and will become even more efficient. Another issue on pricing is where landing pads and charging stations would be located. It has been proposed that the repurposed tops of parking garages, existing helipads, and even unused land surrounding highway interchanges could form the basis of an extensive, distributed network of “vertiports” and would be cheaper than continually creating and maintaining roads, bridges, tunnels, and other road networks. On top of this, Uber says that it will even be cheaper than owning a car.

 

Uber Elevate sounds like the perfect solution for those traveling long distances in crowded cities. The program is looking so good that Uber said it struck an agreement with NASA to develop a new traffic control system for the company’s flying taxi service. We are just going to have to wait and see if they can continue a drama free path and conclude their journey and bring this too good to be true program to the public.

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Uber Elevate