Uber has announced its plans to be one of the first companies to take control of the skies and test taxi drones, to ease congestion on the roads.
The other obvious benefit of introducing a sky-based taxi service is that it should make journeys around town a lot faster, not being forced to use the roads, but instead, zipping wherever they may wish.
Jeff Holden, head of product at Uber told tech website Recode of the company’s plans, saying the drones will be able to take off and land vertically, making them much more efficient than aeroplanes, for example.
The drones would have fixed wings like planes rather than moving rotors like a helicopter, making them much better at gliding through the air for a smooth ride, although they would also feature multiple rotors to enable them to take off and land vertically.
They would also potentially be able to run on batteries rather than fuel, although that development is still a way off, Holden suggested. There is also the scope for them to run without a pilot, just like taxi drone trials are demonstrating is possible in the desert.
Holden made it clear taxi drones wouldn’t replace the traditional road-based taxis, but would be a complementary service instead. It would be introduced, “so we can someday offer our customers as many options as possible to move around,” he said. “Doing it in a three-dimensional way is an obvious thing to look at.”
Uber expects taxi drones to be operational in a decade, although it hasn’t revealed how far along production it currently is.
The company has already revealed its plans for self-driving cars. This would just add another string to its ever-growing transportation bow.