Audacious ideas and Uber's “flying car”

Audacious ideas and Uber's “flying car”

The audacity of your imagination to solve the critical and relevant problems has a good correlation to the chances of your success (subject to execution). This is a bit counter So pick up your area of expertise/interest and think of the most audacious startup idea to solve a critical problem. Start working on it. You are more likely to attract resources to make it successful than otherwise. The bigger the pain point that you address, the more is the emotional investment of the people. And the more they want to contribute. 

Transportation is one big pain point. While we already have big investments in Uber's and SpaceX's ... there is yet a big space for improvement. Urban transportation needs to be fixed beyond just the radio taxis. Venturing out to actually bring the flying taxi to reality is a daring step ahead. But it has already found investments.

Larry Page has funded a startup called Kitty Hawk in 2016 in this space. Kitty Hawk has unveiled its latest commercial plane called Cora in March 2018. There are more well-funded startups in this space, in stealth mode. Sure enough, Uber has just unveiled Flying Taxi (to be launched in 2023). Maybe the resources and bandwidth of Uber getting out of China (sold to Didi) and SE Asia (sold to Grab) are getting deployed here. It would be interesting to see the progress of Didi, Ola and Grab on this. The startups, who have already made the audacious attempt in this space, are likely to make the hey.

Uber plans to launch the flying cars (which resembles drones ) by 2023. It will conduct vertical takeoffs and landings from skyports, air stations on rooftops or the ground. Ultimately, company officials say these skyports will be equipped to handle 200 takeoffs and landings an hour, or one every 24 seconds. At first, the flying cars will be piloted, but the company aims for the aircraft to fly autonomously. Uber says passengers will initially pay the same as an Uber Black over the same distance, but once the service has enough passengers, the cost will decrease to Uber X rates for the same trip. The company plans to roll out UberAIR in Dallas-Fort Worth and Los Angeles in 2023, with testing in those cities beginning in 2020. Uber, which is partnering with NASA on developing the new UberAIR service, faces competition in the skies.

But they are not the only ones or even the first ones

Kitty Hawk, an autonomous flying taxi company backed by Alphabet's Larry Page, has already unveiled its latest commercial plane called Cora in March 2018. In 2016, Page invested in two flying car start-ups. One of those was Kitty Hawk. Kitty Hawk said it is working with the New Zealand government to commercialize its air taxis.

Cora Fact Sheet

  • Company Name: Kitty Hawk Corporation is a California-based company. Zephyr Airworks is the operator of Kitty Hawk in New Zealand.
  • Headquarters: Mountain View, California
  • Kitty Hawk CEO: Sebastian Thrun
  • Zephyr Airworks CEO: Fred Reid
  • Product Name: Cora (prototype)
  • Type of Machine: Air taxi
  • Power: All-electric
  • Capacity: Designed for two passengers
  • Altitude: Operates between 500 ft to 3,000 ft above the ground (150 m to 900 m)
  • Wingspan: 36 ft (11 m)
  • Vertical take-off and landing: Cora is powered by 12 independent lift fans, which enable her to takeoff and land vertically like a helicopter. Therefore, Cora has no need for a runway.
  • Fixed wing flight: On a single propeller
  • Range: Initially about 62 statute miles (100 km)
    Speed: About 110 mph (180 km/h)

 

MIT's 'Drones That Drive' Could Be a Significant Step Toward Flying Cars

Researchers at MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) have developed a series of autonomous UAVs that implement both flying and driving capabilities and allow the two to work in tandem, according to MIT News. This undertaking finally combines both the land and air requirements that the mythical flying car would have to satisfy in order to be a viable, functional version in the future. To be clear, the idea of designing a flying car was not CSAIL's primary goal. CSAIL Director Daniela Rus and her team wanted to make drone deliveries more efficient by having their UAVs fly over obstacles or drive beneath them—whichever would be more efficient, according to MIT News. Once Rus and her team made enough progress, however, it became clear that their achievements would become markers along the way of the inevitable flying car's creation.

Australian Startup Alauda Wants to Race Flying Cars by the End of the Decade

Australian Startup Alauda Wants to Race Flying Cars by the End of the Decade

Australian startup Alauda Racing wants to hold a flying-car demonstration race in 2018 and launch a full-on championship in 2020. It plans to begin testing a sled-shaped quadcopter called the Alauda Mark 1 Airspeeder and is seeking funding on Kickstarter to pay for development work. As with terrestrial vehicles, Alauda believes racing will help develop flying cars by adding the impetus of competition.

 

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