DALLAS. Officials at Uber Technologies Inc. in Dallas are actively seeking the first international uberAIR launch city for the Uber Elevate program, designed to bring urban aerial ridesharing, also referred to as flying taxi or air taxi services, to fruition globally.
To bring uberAIR to market, Uber officials plan to partner with three launch cities to enable a balance between focus and city diversity that will set the service up for long-term success.
Dallas and Los Angeles have previously been announced as the first two launch cities, and we are now seeking an international city as the third partner. These three cities will be the first to offer uberAIR flights, with the goals of operating demonstrator flights starting in 2020 and beginning commercial operations in 2023.
Uber officials, having received inbound interest from the international community, they say, have formalized a process to submit an Expression of Interest. City officials can engage with Uber directly and articulate views on how uberAIR can positively impact their markets and how they can help launch and scale the service.
This opportunity is open to any city outside the U.S. where there is a desire for a dramatic improvement in transportation and conditions are conducive to urban air mobility. Uber officials are seeking cities where national and local policymakers are committed to enabling the adoption of new transportation technologies.
To help understand what would make for a good urban air mobility pilot, Uber has provided the following considerations:
- Cities with a greater metropolitan area population in excess of 2 million people and a density of over 2,000 people per square mile will be able to support pooled ridesharing services and thus benefit the most from an uberAIR network.
- Ideal cities are polycentric, with multiple dense nodes of development in an urban area, and face significant traffic congestion. A large and dispersed city layout means that uberAIR will be able to offer significant time saving benefits at speeds of 150-200 miles per hour.
- The presence of a nearby large airport where travel may often take more than 1 hour to or from the city center — due to distance, demand, or bottlenecks (e.g., bridges, tunnels) — will make for a compelling use case.
- Because uberAIR will be providing transportation from node-to-node rather than point to point, it is critical that it can be integrated into a multi-modal solution that includes other options such as public transit, ridesharing, bikeshare and walking in a dense residential area.
- Cities should have stable and conducive environmental conditions that are well suited for aviation operations including a lack of extreme weather, temperature, and elevation.
- To facilitate the building of Skyports, it will be important to have the involvement of at least one large local real estate partner. It will also be valuable to have a streamlined building permitting, as well as zoning processes that enable mixed-use transit-oriented development and reduced parking requirements.
- Delivering on the goal of operating 100 percent electric VTOL aircraft will ultimately require a robust electrical grid supplied by low carbon intensity energy. A city’s commitment to reduce its carbon footprint and invest in grid modernizing technology is critical.
- Unlocking the potential of the sky will require modernizing policies and regulations. A philosophy of progressive regulatory approaches on new mobility technologies such as rideshare, dockless bikes, autonomous vehicles and drones is highly valued.
- At the core, this is a partnership – Uber is seeking a city partner who is excited about the aerial ridesharing future and who is committed to overcoming obstacles, foreseen and unforeseen, in bringing uberAIR to market.
Uber is not looking for cities to provide tax breaks or local incentives; rather, Uber is looking for cities with aspirational vision who are investing in their transportation systems and wish to bring uberAIR to market for their residents as quickly as possible.
Interested governments should contact their Uber public affairs contact or email the Uber Elevate team at email@example.com by 1 July 2018.
Following that date, the Elevate team plans to start conversations in earnest with cities who have submitted an Expression of Interest where an uberAIR network would be a good fit.
Starting in 2023, Uber customers will be able to push a button and get a flight on-demand, officials say. To enable this, Uber has assembled a network of partners, including: vehicle manufacturers, real estate developers, technology developers, and more.