On Tuesday, Uber announced its intention to demonstrate a flying car network by 2020 and “full-scale operations by 2023.” At its Elevate Summit, held in Dallas, Uber said it would partner with Dallas-Forth Worth, Texas and Dubai, UAE as the first pilot cities and five aircraft manufacturers to begin designing and developing vehicles that can take off and land vertically, like a helicopter.
Uber Chief Product Officer Jeff Holden said in a statement that the startup’s goal is to reach the “pinacle of urban mobility,” which goes beyond its current network of earthbound cars or even self-driving ones. “Urban Aviation is a natural next step for Uber in this pursuit, which is why we are working to make push a button, get a flight a reality,” he said.
One manufacturing partnership Uber has signed is with jet-maker Embraer, to develop electric vehicles that can take off and land vertically–for example on building roofs–and complete short distance urban flights. Meanwhile, Uber is partnering with billionaire Ross Perot’s real estate development company Hillwood to build in “at least three” vertical landing ports by 2020. Developers on Uber’s end will help design the software that manages the trips.
Can Uber really pull off flying cars by the World Expo in Dubai in 2020? Seems like an ambitious goal for a company that might need to keep both eyes on the ground for now.