Last month, Uber released a commercial presenting ‘Uber Elevate’, its latest pilot project for air taxis. Developed through a successful collaboration with NASA, this groundbreaking service is expected to provide air travel services at a similar base fare as Uber X. After a crisis-filled year, Uber’s breakthrough is viewed as its saving grace as the ground transport company seeks to disrupt air travel with an entirely new ecosystem for passenger commuting and travel.
VIDEO COURTESY OF UBER
Surprisingly, Uber has not been the only one who has been taking a crack at air travel. In August 2017, California-based Passenger Drone successfully launched its first manned flights. Even the U.S. government has become aware of this gradually expanding playing field – earlier this month, President Trump signed a law that mandates all drone users to register their devices with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
With the rapid development of the aviation industry comes the concerns regarding air safety and the best way to navigate the future highways of the sky. Several innovative blockchain companies have been coming up with solutions for this, and one of the most notable breakthroughs is perhaps the use of smart contracts to create infallible safety protocols for air travel.
Take Blockchain Taxi, one of Passenger Drone’s partners, as an example. By collecting and combining all of Passenger Drone’s flight data, they managed to create a blockchain-backed protocol that will eventually become the smart contract ecosystem that can be used by regulators and enterprises to facilitate a smooth and secure air travel experience for consumers.
In May 2017, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) approved a patent filed by Walmart, one of the largest retailers in America, for a blockchain-based ‘delivery management system’. According to Walmart, the aim of this technology is to improve its ‘last-mile shipping’ – the final stretch extending to the consumers’ homes – with the use of robotics, sensors, and blockchains, often referred to as distributed ledgers. The patent was titled “Unmanned aerial delivery to secure location”.
Thanks to all the recent progress, it is safe to say that air taxis and manned drone flights will gradually make their way into our lives in the near future. Without a doubt, the introduction of both commercial and passenger drones into the mainstream transportation system will redefine our concept of civilization and bring us one step closer to the future that we’ve all envisioned – full of flying cars and floating cities.