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经济学人:云巅之上 畅想未来交通(下)

No matter which manufacturer is quickest to gain velocity, Uber, a ride-hailing firm, aims to be at the centre of things.

无论哪家制造商最先让飞行器达到预期的速度,叫车公司优步的目标是成为该产业的核心。

On April 25th it held an event in Dallas to announce its plan to offer a service where people can hail an electric “vertical takeoff and landing” vehicle and ride it quickly to destinations that would otherwise take hours in heavy traffic.

4月25日优步在达拉斯举办发布会,公布其新服务计划——使人们能叫到可以垂直起飞和降落的交通工具,避开几小时拥挤不堪的交通,快速地达到目的地。

Uber does not want to build these aircraft or landing pads itself, just as it does not own its own cars.

优步并不打算自己制造飞行器或者发射台,就像它没有汽车的所有权一样。

Instead, it plans to collaborate with other companies.

相反,优步计划与其他公司合作。

But Jeff Holden, Uber's chief product officer, does not exclude the possibility that the firm may at the outset own some aircraft, which he estimates will cost around $1m each.

但是其首席产品官Jeff Holden说不排除公司会在一开始拥有部分飞机的可能,他估计每架的成本大约是100万美元。

The firm plans to have a prototype of its service ready by 2020.

优步计划在2020年之前推出这项服务。

It will launch it first in Dallas and in Dubai, both cities where the authorities have deep aviation expertise and where people commute long distances.

首先它会登陆达拉斯和迪拜,这两个城市有着优秀的航空专家和需要长距离出行的乘客。

The firm rather optimistically promises that the cost per aerial mile for passengers will be roughly that of its low-cost car service, UberX.

优步相当乐观地承诺,其每英里航空收费将大体上和价格相对低廉的汽车服务UberX差不多。

There is plenty for manufacturers and services like Uber to overcome beyond gravity.

对于制造商和优步之类的服务商来说除了重力还要攻克许多难关。

For battery-powered models, range is limited and the charging rate remains slow.

比如,能供电的电池型号范围有限而且充电速度慢。

Manufacturers will need to ensure that vehicles can take off and land quietly, if this new form of transport is to stand a chance in cities.

如果要在城市里占有一席之地,制造商要保证这种车辆能够安静地起飞降落。

How to oversee and license the new aircraft, which are subject to much tougher rules than cars, will be a subject of intense debate among rule-makers, who tend to move slowly and are just getting to grips with drones.

如何监管和授权这种新型飞机,其规则要比汽车严格得多,这些问题将成为规则制定者激烈探讨的主题,而他们往往行动迟缓,并且才刚开始着手应对无人机。

Drivers of flying vehicles are also likely to require a pilot's licence, albeit perhaps a simplified “sports” licence.

飞行车辆的驾驶人员可能也需要飞行执照,虽然可能就是个简化的“运动”证件。

The journey ahead will be a long one.

总之,这一切都还有很长的路要走。

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