Uber goes airborne
Uber goes airborne
5:06

Uber goes airborne

Science
With 7 billion earthlings and counting, traffic can be a nightmare. That's why we're taking a look at the future of transportation. Your aircraft is outside and will depart in five minutes. Welcome to What the Future. On today's show, Uber's vision for on demand air travel The unveiling of the world's first Hyperloop passenger pod. And a Lunar lander that aims to bring us closer to Mars. Let's get into it. The most obvious way to ease traffic is to add a third dimension. That's why Uber aims to take us to the skies with Uber Air. Uber has been developing its electronic vertical takeoff and landing aircraft for some time now. The design seats up to four passengers It could some day move at speeds up to 150 to 200 mph and travel up to 60 miles on a single charge. Uber has also shared several potential Skyport designs. The Skyport components will be modular. Meaning they could be combined in different configurations, and scaled up or down with relative ease. The unique design could handle up to 200 flights per hour. When they arrive at the sky port, Uber aircraft will enter an autonomous queue where passengers can board and disembark Los Angeles and Dallas have been selected as the first two launch cities along with a third launch city that has yet to be announced. There are many safety and regulatory hurdles standing in the way of this plan. The aircraft needs to be built in FAA certified First. Uber is pushing to get it's flying taxis in the air by 2020 for some demonstration flights and the company hopes to have its paid air service up and running by 2023. Uber says that Uber air will cost about $5.73 per passenger mile at launch. However, if it can realize its goal of creating a mass produce automated aircraft that price could fall to as low as a $1.84. There are many companies trying to stake their claim as the future of transportation comes to focus. Airbus and Terrafugia both have their own airborne rideshare systems in development, and beneath the surface of the Earth, a different race for transportation domination rages on. I'm talking, of course, about hyperloop. Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, also known as HTT, recently unveiled the world's First hyperloop passenger pod. The 100 foot tube weighs a whopping five tons and has been designed to send passengers whizzing through magnetic tubes at up to 700 miles per hour. The pod contains two layers of a new smart material invented by HTT that's called vibranium. Where have I heard that name? Before. Is vibranium on those trains. There's vibranium all around us. HTT's vibranium is basically a type of carbon fiber that's embedded with sensors, that can wirelessly transmit information about temperature, stability, and integrity. The pod has a double layer of vibranium. So that there's a backup in case the outer layer gets damaged. HTT's main competitor is Virgin Hyperloop One, which has it's own prototype pods, including a cargo pod and a prototype passenger pod in Dubai. [UNKNOWN] that was designed by BMW. As cool as those pods are, they will still be several years before you can take a Hyperloop to work. Richard Branson says he wants it up and running in three years. But with safety and regulatory hurdles to be overcome, it could be even longer than that. Sometimes the journey is less important that the destination Especially when that destination is Mars. Lockheed Martin is developing a reusable lunar lander that will live on the moon's surface, never returning to Earth. Instead, it will shuttle astronauts to and from a space station in lunar orbit, which NASA calls a gateway. The lunar lander can carry up to four crew members and enough supplies to equip a lunar encampment for up to two weeks. [MUSIC] The lander can also use water collected from ice on the moon to produce liquid oxygen and hydrogen propellant. The lunar gateway will serve as a logistical wave point making it easier for astronauts to explore the moon. moon's surface. Both NASA and Lockheed expected this lunar gateway system could be an important learning experience for developing something similar to help explore Mars in the future. It's time for a question from one of our viewers. Richard Perryman asked us on Facebook, who or what controls the Uber air traffic? Thanks for the question Richard. Uber says that urban airspace and In current air traffic control systems could accommodate up to hundreds of vehicles without making any big changes. However, to handle the air traffic density necessary for this type of flying service to become mainstream, new air traffic control systems will be needed. Uber envisions low altitude operations will be automatically prioritized to avoid conflicts, while the vehicles themselves will utilize a set of visual flight rules similar to those used by pilots. Flying independent of air traffic control. Uber says that developing these new control systems will take years, and it could end up being a limiting factor in Uber Air's growth. That's all for this week. Thank you very much for watching. I'm Jesse Oral filling in for Andy Altman, we'll see you next time on What the Future. [MUSIC]

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