Did you know? According to a recent study, self-driving cars will likely dominate the roads by 2030, making up 95 percent of all car miles driven. However, ground-locked automobiles won’t be the only form of transportation relied on by the masses. Before long, emissions-free flying drones will ferry passengers to and from their destinations.

The concept sounds science fiction, but it is quickly becoming a reality. Look to the city of Shanghai, China, where Richard’s Architecture + Design (RA+D), led by architect Richard Moreta Castillo, is designing a net-zero tower which pioneers drone car infrastructure.

Credit: RA+D

The Smart Power Long Tower features landing pads for flying cars, as well as a vertical forest in which 50,000 trees and shrubs will grow. Clean technologies to be implemented include a recycling water plant, ultraviolet disinfecting treatment, and a vertical electric power plant which would rely on solar, wind, hydro and geothermal energy. Smart Power Long would also have space for a convention center, water river biology laboratories, and residences.

RA+D conceived the idea for the drone car tower in 2015 after completing its first Moscow Tower. After months of planning and brainstorming, the firm concluded that the Shanghai tower’s construction could actually take place faster than expected — between 2018 and 2020.

Credit: RA+D

Inhabitat reports that the condominium draws inspiration from Chinese dragon art. The exterior docking stations would mean an easy entry and exit for flying cars. And, because plants convert carbon dioxide to oxygen via the process of photosynthesis, the abundance of trees and shrubs would scrub the skies of Beijing, which is presently one of the most polluting cities on the planet. 

According to RA+D, the condominium could also have 180 carbon dioxide extractors. This would make it possible for air to be expelled from the top of the building in quantities corresponding to the hour, illuminated with an LED spotlight. This would create an appearance similar to smoke, and create what the firm describes as the “first smoke and chromatic clock for the reference of the Shanghai community.”

Credit: RA+D

The Smart Power Long Tower is designed for Shanghai’s Pudong District and has a budget of $600 million.

Credit: RA+D

Credit: RA+D

Credit: RA+D

Credit: RA+D

Credit: RA+D

Credit: RA+D

Credit: RA+D

Credit: RA+D

The future of transportation

Imagine a future in which you merely had to press a button for a personal taxi and could be ferried to your destinations at an expedited pace. Furthermore, the annual fatalities associated with driving would be reduced substantially. It sounds nice, right?

Well, that future is fast-approaching. Earlier this year, Dubai started testing flying taxis. And, when explaining its vision, RA+D referenced Nevada officials, who are seeking permission from the Federal Aviation Administration for flying passenger drones. Based on this progress, the firm said, it is likely the futuristic vehicles will take to the skies in no time.

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h/t Inhabitat