Americans have been dreaming of flying cars since they first watched the Jetsons in 1962. In a conversation with Andrew Ross Sorkin this morning at the 2017 New York Times DealBook Conference, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said we can expect these futuristic rides by 2022.
After a thorough conversation covering Uber's investment and growth strategies, Sorkin asked, "Flying cars, when's that coming?"
"We are investing in it," said Khosrowshahi. "It's going to be, I would say, in five years you're going to see some flying cars out there."
"There are cities that are knocking down our doors, wanting to get Uber networks out there," he added.
On Wednesday, Uber announced that it is collaborating with NASA on the "Uber Elevate" project, which will develop traffic management strategies for flying vehicles. The ride-hailing company also said that it's aiming to test flying taxis in Los Angeles as well as the Dubai and Dallas-Fort Worth airports by 2020.
"We're building the network, we've got incredible systems, etc. We're working with folks who are going to build skyports, etc. We're negotiating air rights," said Khosrowshahi. "Then we want to work with all of the manufacturers in order to develop these cars."
Technically, these "flying cars" are categorized as "vertical takeoff and landing aircraft," or VTOL aircraft. According to Uber's website, "The closest equivalent technology in use today is the helicopter, but helicopters are too noisy, inefficient, polluting and expensive for mass-scale use. VTOL aircraft will make use of electric propulsion so they have zero operational emissions and will likely be quiet enough to operate in cities without disturbing the neighbors."
Khosrowshahi is optimistic that through collaboration, Uber will be able to get this project off the ground on time.
"You can have a ride, too, with a push of a button," he said, pointing to Sorkin. "It's going to be awesome."