September 26, 2016

"In an onstage interview with me today at the Nantucket Conference, Uber products head Jeff Holden said that the fast-growing ride-sharing company was seriously looking at a new form of transportation to offer its customers: Short-haul flying in cities."

recode: The technology is called VTOL — which stands for vertical takeoff and landing. Simply put, VTOL is an aircraft that can hover, take off and land vertically, which would also describe a helicopter. By Kara Swisher

'But, unlike the typical helicopter, these planes have multiple rotors, could have fixed wings and perhaps eventually would use batteries and be more silent. In time, like cars, such aircraft would be autonomous.

'Holden said that he has been researching the area, “so we can someday offer our customers as many options as possible to move around.” He added that “doing it in a three-dimensional way is an obvious thing to look at.”

'Holden said in the interview that such technology could be in use within a decade, which is an aggressive prediction, given the issues around the complexity of movement in the air above densely populated areas. (Also, you know, the possibility of these VTOL vehicles crashing into each other.)'

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