Flying cars? Uber, NASA See Them in Los Angeles Skies by 2020


[H]F Junkie
Apr 25, 2001
Uber chief product officer Jeff Holden planned to announce (WARNING auto play video) at the Web Summit conference in Lisbon today that Los Angeles will join Dallas as the first two cities to host the company's proposed network of flying vehicles. He said the company expects L.A. residents to be making "heavy use" of the service by the time it hosts the 2028 Olympics. I know Uber has Nasa on board for this effort, but 2020 is only a couple of years away. Sound to me like they are being overly aggressive with this projected roll out of service. I hope they get it right.

"Technology will allow L.A. residents to literally fly over the city's historically bad traffic, giving them time back to use in far more productive ways," Holden said in comments shared with USA TODAY. "At scale, we expect UberAir will perform tens of thousands of flights each day across the city."
what a load of horseshit. aircraft can only fly from airport to airport, or to a few tall buildings/places with helipads. its not coming and landing at your front door and whisking you away to the office

someone PLEASE pass what he is smoking
or to a few tall buildings/places with helipads

Skimming through that 1min showcase video, that seems to be exactly what this service is attempting to do.
Although, instead of helicopters, it seems like they are intending to use some kind of tilt rotor quadcopter type aircraft that is also road legal.

I see it as more of a drone, XXXL, that can carry humans, instead of beer.
what a load of horseshit. aircraft can only fly from airport to airport, or to a few tall buildings/places with helipads. its not coming and landing at your front door and whisking you away to the office

someone PLEASE pass what he is smoking
Leave it to uber to disrupt the flying business, they know what they're doing...
In one sentence the OP says 2020, and in another, 2028. So which is it? I assume he means 2028 since the 2020 Summer Olympics are going to be in Tokyo. That's 10 years from now, so while that is still a stretch, it is possible there could be some sort of "uber air" by then.
Regulatory issues and timelines aside for a second:

I wonder what they expect it to cost per trip?
What the wait times would be, what sort of regular maintenance, charging etc, goes into it?

Seems to me that if they only hold 3 people and it takes 30 minutes one-way - you'd need lots of these things to serve any real capacity. If you're waiting more than 30 minutes and you have to drive to the helipad, you might as well have driven where you wanted to go in the first place. I'd love to see them make this work but it sounds very ambitious and I worry some will crash and people will die. People die in cars and regular flights too, so I suppose some deaths are perhaps acceptable but I worry they'll be rushing things and people will die due to negligence that could have been prevented.

Anyways, it's fun that companies are dreaming big lately.
Given how many vehicles we see parked on the side of the road, and knowing how people maintain things, we will not have personal flying cars ever.
Uber and Lyft are SO full of shit with their "projections", there is no way they can even jump through the regulatory hoops to get this kind of service approved in two years, much less build the necessary infrastructure. Not to mention the fact that both companies are successful specifically because they use their drivers' cars to haul people around, they have zero experience managing a company owned fleet. In order to have adequate coverage for even Los Angeles, much less the rest of the major US cities, would require a massive amount of capital, that neither company has, to build and maintain company owned fleets of aircraft (and even more so for autonomous cars).

On top of all of that, I recently had a passenger in my car (I've been a Lyft driver since Aug 2016, ~1700 rides and counting) who works for a company that controls and maintains the GPS satellites that Google Maps, Waze and others use. I asked him about the "100% autonomous cars in five years" nonsense that the (now former) Uber CEO was spouting off about earlier this year. He laughed. He also said it won't happen in 10 years, maybe never, due to signal problems caused by tall buildings in cities and terrain features (mountains) in rural areas. You can't force a radio/infrared/radar/whatever signal through a solid object that big and there's no way around that bit of physics. I've witnessed this myself when driving in downtown San Diego, my GPS is laggy and inconsistent, and often tries to put me on the wrong block because it can't pinpoint the passenger's location any closer than somewhere within a 100' radius.

TL;DR - The Uber execs are delusional, and probably just spouting nonsense that sounds like it could work to generate interest from venture capitalists and other investors to make up for the billions a year they're losing.
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Hannah-Barbera thought we'd have it by the year 2000.

We're 17 years past that deadline.
Well at least they'll be able to evacuate a little faster for the next catastrophe. :)
Where I live there's a municipal airport down the road and up and down the streets are road signs with pictures of airplanes on them. Some even say "low flying aircraft" as though I could actually do something about it if one came down in the street.

So what am I supposed to think of this? They'll have to change the signs to say "Low flying Morons"