Uber Hopes To Build Flying Cars Network In Dubai By 2020
Uber has recently announced its plans to build a network of flying cars in Dubai and Dallas-Fort Worth by 2020. Uber has long been pondering on ways to enter the flying cabs market and this only deals with that aspect of it. Uber’s vision for the plan is to create an aircraft that can fly 100 miles in around 40 minutes, however, there is a slight twist in the plan. This kind of aircraft or the infrastructure required doesn’t exist as of now.
The long-standing plan also involves ensuring these aircraft cabs meet all the governmental safety regulations and a complex air traffic control system to provide logistical and operational support to them.
And Uber plans to rope in other companies to help this plan turn into reality. It has signed deals with some companies that are in process of developing electric aircraft with vertical takeoff and landing capabilities. These companies include Aurora Flight Sciences(Pentagon backed venture), Bell Helicopter, Embraer, Pipistrel and Mooney. The advantage for any of these companies would be access to Uber’s worldwide customers. While a full-fledged aircraft would be too difficult to create in such time frame, Uber is planning to instead build a hybrid vehicle to replace Dubai Cars and cabs worldwide.
It has also announced partnerships with real estate firms like Dubai Holdings in UAE and Hillwood Properties in Texas to look for locations that could serve as landing ports or “vertiports” and to build them. It has also roped in ChargePoint, a company that operates electric vehicle charging sports in Australia and North America to design, develop and deploy the necessary technical infrastructure to keep the cabs in air. Uber speculated in a white paper that it published in October that about 1,000 aircraft and 83 vertiports each with 12 separate charging ports will be required for servicing 3-4 cities.
Dubai, for the most part, is interested in the project. With Uber already offering choppers in UAE, this looks like the next logical step. It will only add further to the appeal of Dubai! But Texas is also looking to ride the bandwagon and be a part of the project.