Uber, Boeing Join Japanese Flying Car Coalition

The group also includes Airbus and Toyota.

byStephen Edelstein| PUBLISHED Aug 27, 2018 11:10 AM
Uber, Boeing Join Japanese Flying Car Coalition

The technological and logistical challenges surrounding flying cars remain immense, but some of the world's biggest companies stand committed to developing them. Uber and Boeing are joining a Japanese coalition to develop flying cars, Bloomberg reports. Airbus and Toyota are among the other companies in the 21-member group.

The faction hopes to bring flying cars to Japanese skies within the next decade. Delegates from each member will meet Aug. 29 to chart a path toward that goal. The private companies will get support from the Japanese government in the form of friendly regulations.

"The Japanese government will provide appropriate support to help realize the concept flying cars, such as creation of acceptable rules," Japan's trade ministry said in a statement. 

The government hopes flying cars will reduce traffic and help Japanese companies regain a technological lead, according to Bloomberg. It's reportedly felt that Japan has lost the advantage in electric cars and autonomous driving, and the country's government apparently plans to make up for that by developing flying cars. Much like Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's aggressive plans to deploy hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles, flying cars could be a modern technological touchstone for the nation—if the aerial machines can ever be made to work in the real world, that is. 

While companies like Uber, Boeing, Airbus, and Toyota have shown interest, developing a working model won't be easy. The number of companies that have tried and failed is too long to list here, and even if the technology can be developed, regulations will have to be put in place to develop urban-air traffic control systems and other safety measures.

None of this has deterred Uber. The ride-hailing company plans to launch flying-car pilot programs in Dallas-Fort Worth, Los Angeles and Dubai in 2020 with the intention of commencing commercial service in those cities by 2023. Uber has enlisted the likes of NASA and the U.S. Army to help.