You remember the pictures of techy, geeky, out-of-this worldly future in any sci-fi movie like ‘The Fifth Element’ to date: tall buildings, strange clothes, and, of course, flying cars running invisible highways stacking up all the way to the endless sky.
And I am most sure you’d say: “That’s too far ahead to think about now.”
It took decades for people to invent prototype self-tying Nikes from “Back to the Future II,” after all, and flying cars is a way more complicated thing than shoelaces. However odd that might sound, the future is coming very soon, full of flying cars and smart things existing and functioning in an interconnected intelligent environment which is the concept of the Internet of Things.
Since the mass culture seems to have always exploited the vision of the future as the place full of public transport, it’s not a surprise that a great idea wrapped into a number of breakthrough technologies charmed our mind.
Blockchain as ‘Fifth Element’
The phrase ‘Blockchain-based flying car’ got public attention.
Uber is working with NASA and several aerospace to get the ‘flying car’ project off the ground. Volvo’s parent company designs the futuristic vehicles which could take to the skies within two years.
The Bartini Project, residents of innovation hub and winners of Uber Elevate, implements Blockchain for a concept of vertical take-off aerial vehicle. China plans to start selling flying cars by 2019.
The Blockchain platform enables fast and hassle-free functioning of the entire ecosystem: vehicles, charge stations, parking, clients.
The aerial taxi should become one of the elements of our IoT-enabled future, where things, objects (small and large) communicate with each other without being connected to some ‘central’ computer – in a way, it’s a decentralized system as well. And Blockchain is a ready-to-go register for transactions which may happen between these objects – like between a sensor-equipped smart lock in the public lockers room and your wristband where a small smart contract is sealed.
The mentioned use case is describing how Blockchain would free this simple real-life activity from dependence from centralized databases containing your client entry, from supporting stuff and many other remnants of the pre-Blockchain era.
Same would happen to the urban taxi services – because traffic jams are the only thing Uber and all the services which proliferated due to the emergence of the sharing economy did not solve or, seemingly, ever will.
Blockchain takes off
There is a solid foundation for vertical takeoff and landing infrastructure necessary for the enablement of the concept.
For instance, the rooftops of every major metropolis are equipped with functional helipads that are largely unused.
Large cities like Tokyo, Seoul and Los Angeles boast over 70 landing pads each. As for legislation, Dubai, Singapore and other modern governments ready to welcome small commercial aircraft will set a notable example for aerospace regulators who will inevitably have to adjust to the market pressure.
Besides, the market for urban aerial transport is estimated at $1.2 bln which should be enough to power a rapid progress in air travel technology.
Blockchain as a platform enables to hail the aerial taxi and pay for the ride in tokens of the car or charge it in tokens of the charging station.
Each time when a transaction takes place, a smart contract is signed, storing the information about the delivery of service, payments and vehicle charging.
It is a perfect example of how the future transportation can take the best of available technologies, even though it may sound too ‘magic’ to pertain to the real world.
Everything is happening now: both the development of the aerial taxi, and, for instance, the use of Blockchain for notary affirmations and real estate deals, backed up by governments and trade organizations.
Not many years ago we talked about how unearthly virtual reality was – and can you believe we could have doubts now when it’s already a thing? We all continue to stand by our belief in Blockchain as in the technology which has emerged to transform the world.
Alexander Borodich, venture investor, futurologist, CEO of Universa