Uber Summit Sets Serious Course
The whole idea of flying cars has come to symbolize the imagined future that never arrives, but Uber’s Elevate Summit on Tuesday made clear that aviation’s serious players are serious about this technology, and it’s coming soon, and it’s going to be game-changing. “This industry is going to be successful faster than anyone thinks … there is nothing like the passion that is unleashed on this,” said Pat Romano, CEO of Chargepoint, a company that provides charging stations for electric cars — which are now being adapted to power up electric aircraft. Tuesday’s lineup of speakers also included leaders from Embraer, Bell Helicopter, Pipistrel, Aurora Flight Sciences, Mooney, GAMA, NASA, Airbus A3 and more. All of them are committing to participate in the Uber Elevate vision — to create VTOL electric-powered air taxis and the infrastructure they need to provide practical urban transport, with the first demonstration project ready by 2020.
Uber announced on Tuesday that its first partner cities for the Elevate project are Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas, and Dubai, UAE. In both cities, Uber is looking to develop infrastructure partnerships with local real estate companies to identify sites and construct vertiports for a future Uber Elevate Network. Uber is working with Hillwood Properties for Dallas-Fort Worth and planning to partner with several real-estate companies in Dubai. Dubai is hosting the 2020 World Expo and plans to have a demonstration project timed with that event. The Uber Elevate Summit continues through Thursday and is streaming live online.