Uber Elevate VTOL Vehicles to Take Flight in Dubai and Texas by 2020
Ron Perillo / 3 years ago
Uber is hosting a 3-day “Elevate Summit” event in Dallas, Texas where the company unveiled the latest development for their Uber Elevate VTOL “flying car” aircraft. The Dallas-Forth Worth area as well as Dubai, will also be one of the pilot urban locations for the project where the company will do trials for their Uber Elevate service. Jeff Holden, Chief Product Officer explained further that the program fits cleanly into Uber’s mission as well as the company’s focus on “big bold bets”
“It’s natural for Uber to turn its eyes to the air: push a button, get a flight, Urban aviation can replace long-distance commutes.” he said to an audience of several hundred people gathered for the three-day summit.
Unlike other companies that are creating their own fleet of aircrafts such as Larry Page’s Kitty Hawk and Airbus’ Air Mobility Vehicle, Uber is teaming up with other companies for both the infrastructure as well as the aircraft manufacturing. What Uber brings instead is its ready ridership of 60 million, who are already familiar with the ride hailing service unlike their competitors who will be building from the ground up.
Five companies are linked to Uber to make the Uber Elevate VTOL aircraft possible: Aurora Flight Sciences, Pipistrel, Bell Helicopter, Embraer and Mooney. It also has real-estate partnerships in Dallas with Hillwood Properties and Dubai Holdings which they need to build several “vertiports” which would act as drop-off/pick-up stations for the ride. Chargepoint, the largest operator of electric-vehicle charging stations is their partner in charge of batteries.
The project initially started with Uber considering a fleet of helicopters but projections show that the cost is too high to maintain with fuel, maintenance, noise until the company settled on electric VTOLs instead. “Just like artificial intelligence, flying cars have been promised for decades but are arriving now,” enthused Holden at the event.