The Future of Personal Transportation–Driverless Heli-Taxi (CES 2019)

While Las Vegas is currently one of two cities in the U.S. allowing for consumer testing of driverless cars, the city got another driverless boost last week from CES2019: the driverless heli-taxi.

While the annual Consumer Electronics Show brought a life-size prototype of the new aerial hybrid vehicle currently in development, it also brought a lot of debate about the future of urban transportation—the good, the bad and the seemingly impossible.

The vision is this: sometime in the not too distant future, a traveler, a commuter or even a person in a hurry, may be able to choose on a whim to hail an air taxi from a nearby rooftop. From there, they’ll take that taxi to another rooftop stop, or the airport, or even some port on a highrise rooftop of another nearby city.

Trips that could take 45 minutes to hours, depending on traffic, would be on-demand and relegated to minutes and arranged in a snap through an app supplied by, yes, Uber. The concept of Uber Air is a very real one, according to company brass attending this year’s CES, and it is spearheading a debate that brings up all sorts of questions, concerns and awe.