Future Tense

Even the Thought of Uber’s Traffic-Taunting Drones Is Too Much

Uber used drones similar to this one to launch a short-lived ad campaign in Mexico City.

Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Drones are cool when they’re racing. Drones are cool when they perform ballet. Drones are especially cool when they’re delivering pizza. But drones are not cool when they’re bobbing up in down in traffic, bearing smug signs telling drivers that they should’ve carpooled instead.

Thanks, Uber.

The ride-sharing company, hoping to encourage drivers in Mexico City to use its Uber Pool feature, sent the jeering drones out to fly over traffic in June, according to a Bloomberg report from earlier this month.

According to MIT Technology Review, one sign read, in Spanish: “Driving by yourself? This is why you can never see the volcanoes,” alluding to the city’s thick smog. Another said, “The city would be for you, not 5.5 million cars.” Because nothing makes people more disposed to use a product than self-righteous messaging and road rage!

Since news of Uber’s aggressive advertising method reached the United States, people have wondered whether they’ll see drones hovering above traffic jams here. As Popular Science wrote, it’s possible, as long as operators apply for the correct waiver. A representative for Uber told Slate the company will not revive the strategy.