Flying cars may not yet be a reality, but if bridges can sail rivers, can’t be too far behind. Picking up the pace are Uber and NASA, which plan to test their flying vehicles as early as 2020.
Uber is looking to speed development of a new industry of electric, on-demand, urban air taxis, [Chief Product Officer] Holden said, which customers could order up via smartphone in ways that parallel the ground-based taxi alternatives.
Much like a regular Uber, the airborne taxi will hold up to 4 passengers. It will also run at 200 miles an hour — perfect for traffic congested cities. NASA has stepped in to develop a software for air traffic management as well as ensure the taxis are safe.
“We are very much embracing the regulatory bodies and starting very early in discussions about this and getting everyone aligned with the vision,” he said of Uber’s plans to introduce what he called “ride-sharing in the sky”.
Autonomous vehicles may not be everyone’s cup of tea — much less when they’re in the sky. But if NASA is on board with it, it’s likely we will be, too.
While the UAE is prepping for life on Mars, Panasonic is keeping it down-to-earth. Taking a more optimistic approach to the future, the electronics company is erecting a smart city. That means self-driving vehicles, clean energy, and free wifi all in one!
“Since early 2016, when we started on Denver CityNow, we’ve vetted 11 technology suppliers, developed an open API, established a carbon-neutral district, got approval from the public utility and installed the first microgrid, with solar panels on Denver Airport property, in partnership with Xcel Energy, which can power this area for 72 hours in the event of a natural, or manmade, disaster.” [said EVP Jarrett Wendt.]
Panasonic is pulling from its previous success with Fujisawa’s Sustainable Smart town, which took 8.5 years to build. The tech metropolis saw a 70% reduction in carbon dioxide and 30% energy return. In essence, it pays to be green. As for Denver becoming its futuristic breeding ground? A lack of legal setbacks did the trick.
“At Panasonic, we’re not political, we just want to get things done,” said Wendt.
Granted, a 400-acre tech-forward city may be something to look forward to — let’s just hope they pull it off!