Uber takes to the skies with next ride-hailing project, cars to arrive in Dubai, Texas by 2020
If you take a Uber in Dubai or Texas in 2020, it might not run on the road but fly you to your destination.tech Updated: Apr 26, 2017 09:06 IST
Uber is taking to the skies with its next project — “flying cars” — even as all eyes are on its problems on the ground.
On Tuesday, the embattled ride-hailing company announced plans for an on-demand network of electric aircraft that can take off and land vertically, like a helicopter. It wants to test a network for such vehicles by 2020.
The company says its partners in this Elevate initiative include real estate companies, aircraft manufacturers, electric vehicle charger makers and the cities of Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas.
Uber’s Jeff Holden says urban aviation “is a natural next step for Uber.”
More importantly, Uber has signed deals with five companies that are developing electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft: Pentagon-backed Aurora Flight Sciences, electric plane maker Pipistrel, Bell Helicopter, Embraer, and small plane maker Mooney.
If they bow out or fail to deliver, others can take their place. Germany’s Lilium just proved its funky electric aircraft can fly. China’s eHang plans to launch people-carrying drones in Dubai this summer. And Google founder Larry Page just revealed his flying car prototype, though it looks more at home in Skymall than the sky.
Uber has been reeling from executive departures and accusations of sexual harassment at its workplace. Results of an internal investigation are expected in May.
(with agency inputs)