Uber Is Latest Tech Company To Dream Of Flying Cars

The ride-hailing startup wouldn't say what it plans to reveal during this week's Elevate Summit, but it has lined up a wide range of speakers including Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings, NASA researchers and engineers, and executives from on-demand helicopter service BLADE, aerospace manufacturer Bell Helicopter, and electric vehicle charging-station company ChargePoint. The goal is to cut in-transit time.

But Uber's new partnerships with reputable aviation companies-as well as preexisting collaborations with federal agencies such as NASA-shows the tech giant is willing to kickstart the global conversation on flying taxis in a big way.

Uber highlighted its plans to develop and test cars that are capable of vertically taking off and landing - commonly referred to as VTOLs - by 2020 at a press conference Tuesday.

Uber wants to fill the New York City skyline with flying cars.

By 2020 your commute to work could be drastically shortened by taking advantage of UberX, Uber's new way of traveling, by flying taxis. But the company had plans to pursue flying ride sharing long before the other drama it's now dealing with, and for observers of this unique space, it's no doubt interesting that Uber continues to press on.

Uber sketched out a clearer vision for its flying taxis at a time when it's struggling with more urgent problems at the ground level.

Of course, cost could drive down the use of flying taxis.

The manufacturing partners for Uber Elevate include Aurora Flight Sciences, Embraer, Bell Helicopter, Mooney, and Pipistel Aircraft.

The company has also partnered with U.S. electric vehicle charging station maker ChargePoint Inc.

Dutch startup PAL-V announced last week that it was taking $10,000 deposits for its $400,000-and-up two seat Liberty flying auto, while Slovakia-based AeroMobil began doing the same for its $1 million-plus machine due out in three years.

"We think we can start this for roughly the cost of UberX", he said, referring to the company's low-priced ride-sharing service.

Uber has transformed hundreds of cities around the world with its cheap, rapid taxi service - and the next step will be to conquer the skies.

Elevate will first be implemented in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and in Dubai.

The partnership agreement provides the basis for a system of urban transportation solutions that will enable users of the Uber Elevate Network to request an Aurora eVTOL aircraft via Uber's computer or mobile software applications. Lawmakers have yet to set rules that explicitly govern flying cars, but when they do, it's likely Uber again will butt heads with regulators.

"We're very excited about the fact that Dallas-Fort Worth is among the first communities to be involved in this". "Being in the North Texas region, which encourages innovation and responsible businesses to thrive, we trust that this will be a beneficial choice for the development of the Elevate project".

  • Wendy Palmer