The city of lights is now Uber’s city of flying taxi development. That means we’re one step closer to using flying taxis on our commutes, and cities could feel the effects of flying vehicles within the next decade.
When we last discussed flying cars in October 2017, flying cars had been in the works for some time already, including projects from:
- Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority in partnership with German start-up Volocopter
- French aircraft company Airbus
- Uber flying taxi initiative Project Elevate
Now, according to BBC News, “Uber’s plan to create flying taxis moved a step closer as the ride-hailing firm announced that it will open a laboratory in Paris to develop them.” Just as we noted last year, Uber still hopes to launch their sky taxis by 2023.
The prototype of Uber’s flying taxi, revealed at the Uber Elevate Summit in May, looks similar to a giant drone, and is intended to be piloted. But driverless flying taxis are still the goal: Uber hopes these vehicles will eventually be autonomous.
In addition to Uber’s Project Elevate, multiple other companies, including Japanese startup Cartivator and Toyota, are working to complete flying cars before the 2020 Tokyo Olympics so they can play a role in lighting the ceremonial torch.
What do flying taxis mean for CRE?
Right now, the companies working to create flying cars seem to be doing so simply for the sake of being the first. But once they’re commercially available, there will be major implications for cities and society as a whole.
As we’ve noted before, driverless cars and flying cars will eliminate the need for a vast majority of parking lots in urban locations. The eradication of these parking spaces will create new opportunities and challenges for property developers and investors. In coming years, parking garages and lots will be redeveloped into work and leisure spaces including offices, restaurants, parks and more.
Additionally, entire city infrastructures will need to be reworked to accommodate this new form of cutting-edge transportation, and governments will have to take necessary steps to regulate vehicles and protect citizens. These changes will have major effects on city landscapes, and in turn, the definition of location in commercial real estate.
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