According to Uber, the service wants to launch a system of flying cars to able individuals to move around the cities. The company aims to put demonstration projects in place by 2020.
The taxi service company announced a partnership to manufacture “vertical takeoff and landing” (VTOL) rides, putting networks in place.
“The goal of these partnerships is to develop a new on-demand VTOL network to enable customers in the future to push a button and get a high-speed flight in and around cities,” Uber said in a statement.
The announcement was made at a summit held in the Dallas area with partners in the project.
“What started as a simple question ‘why can’t I push a button and get a ride?’ has turned, for Uber, into a passionate pursuit of the pinnacle of urban mobility — the reduction of congestion and pollution from transportation, giving people their time back, freeing up real estate dedicated to parking and providing access to mobility in all corners of a city,” said Uber chief product officer Jeff Holden.
“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.”
Uber aims to become the first demonstration network in place for the 2020 World Expo in Dubai, and to have “full-scale operations” in Dallas by 2023.
The statement cam about after Silicon Valley “flying car” startup Kitty Hawk, reportedly to be backed by Google co-founder Larry Page. He released a video of its airborne prototype and announced plans for deliveries of a “personal flying machine” this year.
Uber’s plans appear more ambitious, and include partnerships with US-based Bell Helicopter, Brazilian manufacturer Embraer and Slovenia’s Pipistrel to produce flying machines for short distance urban operations.
“Uber’s Elevate network is an exciting opportunity for Bell Helicopter to help transform how cities move people and products in the future,” Bell president and chief executive Mitch Snyder said in a statement.
Embraer vice president Antonio Campello said: “We share Uber’s revolutionary vision that the state of transportation in congested cities is ripe for innovative solutions.”
The Uber plan also includes partnerships for “vertiports” for the flyers to take off and land, along with changing stations for the transporters, which are expected to be mainly electric-powered.