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Image copyright Getty Images Image caption But pint measures never went away when it came to draught beer and cider But they are still seen, by both sides of the argument, as a dog's breakfast ripe for reform. Advocates of metric say it is perfectly feasible for the two systems to co-exist but does not make commercial sense. "The current measurement muddle aids only our competitors," says Derek Pollard, the chairman of the UK Metric Association. 'Norms and rules' With 90% of the UK's trade taking place with metric countries - the US being the stand-out exception - he says the UK would be at a big disadvantage if it reverted. "To compete effectively, we need a single, logical and universal measurement system that everyone understands and is familiar with," Mr Pollard says. This view is shared by the UK Weighing Federation, which speaks on behalf of companies manufacturing, installing and repairing commercial scales and associated equipment - including components, instrumentation and software. Image copyright AP Image caption Most of the Commonwealth, including India, uses metric measurement Not only, it says, are most imperial measuring scales now consigned to people's lofts or on display in museums, but the equipment used to test commercial weights to guarantee their conformity with technical and safety standards - a procedure known as type approvals - is not available for any mass switch back to imperial. "All measuring equipment is designed to record in metric," says its president, Nick Catt. "If you want to be a manufacturing country and want to have a strong connection with Europe, then you have to follow the European norms and rules. "Otherwise it would be chaos and it would be consumers who lose out." 'Impractical' Having a dual system of metric and imperial would, he says, involve a "phenomenal" cost to retailers, which would inevitably be passed on to customers - an outcome at odds with the deregulatory impetus behind Brexit.
In an onstage interview with Recode's Kara Swisher at the Nantucket Project, Holden said the company is looking into short-haul flights within cities, with vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) technology eliminating the need for ubiquitous runways. Uber has allowed users to hail helicopters in the past, but Holden described that as mostly a marketing effort. (See also, Uber Will Invest $500M to Develop Google-Like Map .) Rather than a flights to oakland chopper, think something more like a Harrier, a family of aircraft first developed in Britain in the 1960s that can pop straight off the ground. Holden sees Uber aircraft taking off from and landing on the tops of buildings, and thinks the carpooling concept that has made UberPool a hit could be applied to air taxis as well. (See also, Uber Has Lost Over $1 Billion This Year .) A number of companies are trying to develop the kind of hardware Uber would need to bring this idea to fruition. Airbus' Silicon Valley branch A3 is working on a single-passenger autonomous air taxi as well as a multi-passenger VTOL vehicle. Aviation week reported in August that Uber was "a major target" for these projects. Startups are also competing to provide an aerial complement to Uber's fleet, according to Recode. As a visual aid, Swisher included this artist's concept video of a VTOL vehicle from DARPA, the Department of Defense's research arm: Holden said Uber's intention is to "offer our customers as many options as possible to move around." He added, "doing it in a three-dimensional way is an obvious thing to look at." His claim that flying Ubers could be dotting cities' skylines within a decade may seem like a stretch, but he justifiably points to the speed with which the company has taken self-driving Ubers from executive musing to reality. CEO Travis Kalanick first floated the idea of doing away with "the other dude in the car" in May 2014, the day after Google since reorganized as Alphabet Inc. ( GOOG , GOOGL ) presented its autonomous car prototype.
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