Scientists and innovators to talk flying taxis at CES 2019
In this Sept. 26, 2017 photo, a Volocopter prototype flies in front of the two hotel towers during a test flight in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.(AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili)
Published Saturday, January 5, 2019 2:16PM EST
As local airborne good delivery becomes more popular across the world, local airborne human transportation is closer to becoming a reality, too.
The Consumer Electronics Show, one of the world's largest consumer technologies trade shows, has become an opportune place to show off new products, industry innovations, and futuristic concepts. This year's show kicks off for the public next Tuesday, January 8, and a common theme to be presented across dozens of companies is transportation.
As vehicles are becoming more electric, more connected, and more autonomous, innovators are looking towards new ideas to make transportation even more efficient and eco-friendly. Though flying cars have been talked about at least since "Back to the Future" came out in 1985 if not before, 2018 has given rise to serious conversations about such technology, discussions that suggest that the famous DeLorean is not too far ahead of its time, at least in terms of flying capabilities.
To prepare for news on these topics, it's essential to know where transportation companies currently stand on the issue -- Uber, EmbraerX, and NASA have already weighed in, and representatives from each are expected to speak at the show.
Uber's goal is to start testing an air taxi service in just two years, followed by a commercial service beginning in 2023.
In May of 2018 at the Uber Elevate Summit, EmbraerX, a division of Embraer, debuted its eVTOL (vertical take-off and landing) concept model to be potentially used by Uber -- a helicopter-plane-street vehicle hybrid designed for an urban environment.
To ensure air traffic moves safely and efficiently, NASA signed a "space act agreement." The government-funded agency will work with Uber to develop and implement a ridesharing network for flying vehicles while Embraer will continue to refine its urban air taxi. If the companies are aiming to begin testing in 2021, the models probably won't be changing significantly.
Flying cars are in the works by both privately and publicly funded enterprises. In less than five years, your Uber may bring you home through the sky instead of through the streets. We'll find out more at the "Flying Taxis. Build them, but will they come?" presentation on January 7.
Your ride in the sky could be arriving as soon as 2020—see what it'll be like to rise above it all with UberAIR.— Uber (@Uber) May 8, 2018
Learn more from the #Elevate18 Summit live stream: https://t.co/8OGpAeGXS1 pic.twitter.com/DyweAvmkdA