A Joby S2 concept VTOL from Uber's flying cars plan.

While we’ve been busy working out how driverless cars will fit with our evolving world and how we need to repurpose our buildings and cities to fit – just a fragment of the topics at our upcoming Tomorrowland event – some people have been working on flying cars. That’s right. Take the driverless ride service and pin your route on a highway in the sky.

According to a recent story to hit the headlines on Monday, Uber is working on flying cars for Sydney and a few other cities. It told The Australian Financial Review that short-distance urban air transportation will likely be a reality by 2023.

Wired says the company told its “Uber Elevate” summit in April it had partnered with a bunch of real estate companies to identify locations for “vertiports” for future flying machines. Watch these words enter our daily lexicon quicker than we think.

“Chargepoint, which operates 34,000 electric vehicle charging spots in North America and Australia, will design, develop, and deploy the infrastructure needed to keep the aircraft going,” Wired said.

“In a white paper Uber published in October, the company estimated it would need 1000 aircraft and 83 vertiports, with 12 charging spots apiece, to serve three or four cities.”


Taking off and landing vertically is key for city use, however, so Uber is development partnerships with a few helicopter and other aircraft companies as well on vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft.

Apparently Sydney’s congestion makes air lifts ideal.

Gladys Berejiklian’s government is onto it.

“The NSW government is very excited about cracking transportation problems in innovative ways and Sydney certainly has a traffic issue,” Uber’s chief product officer Jeff Holden told the AFR.

Certainly this state regime knows how to jump with alacrity at dramatic transport solutions that tend to be bigger than Ben Hur. Never mind that some of them cost the earth, figuratively and literally. And no we’re not referring to the rail solutions thankfully under way but the giant freeways ploughing through delicate inner-city fabric and those on the drawing board planning to rip through even more delicate national park fabric, to Wollongong.

Now if this government really believes in the power of technology it might accept that driverless cars will be able to cruise at high speed a few inches from each other, safely, so will be as happy on goat tracks as the WestConnex.

Given this could be so, we can’t wait to see how the big infrastructure cabal tries to carve out a SkyConnex over Sydney. Watch them.