Flying cars in Dallas-Fort Worth? It may not just be a pipe dream anymore.
Uber announced Tuesday that DFW would be a testing site by 2020 for the flying vehicles it’s currently developing in its Elevate initiative, according to D CEO‘s Danielle Abril.
DFW would be the first area in the U.S. to see Uber’s on-demand vertical takeoff and landing aircraft and one of two metropolitan areas in the world. Uber also plans to demonstrate the new technology at the 2020 World Expo in Dubai, according to D CEO.
“This is an opportunity for our city to show leaders from around the world and across industries why Dallas should be a part of building a better future for urban mobility,” Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings said in a release.
“This is an opportunity for our city to show leaders from around the world and across industries why Dallas should be a part of building a better future for urban mobility.”
Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings
The announcement was made at Uber’s inaugural Elevate Summit in Dallas. The news comes amid recent buzz about flying cars including a newly released prototype from the Google co-founder-backed startup, Kitty Hawk.
Fast Company’s Sean Captain took a deeper dive into the ride-sharing service’s flying car plans, reporting Uber wants to have its flying taxis in service by 2023. The taxis will initially be manned by certified commercial pilots with future plans to make them autonomous. But, getting self-flying taxis approved could present a challenge, Jeff Holden, Uber’s chief product officer, told Fast Company.
“Certification for autonomy will be a long process, simply because it hasn’t been done,” Holden said. “Software in general is not one of the areas where there’s an efficient certification path.”
FLYING CAR WOULD TAKE OFF FROM A VERTICAL SKYPORT
The vehicles would take off and land at a network of skyports. Locally, Uber is partnering with Hillwood Properties to build two to five vertical skyports within the next year, according to the Fort Worth Star Telegram’s Andrea Ahles. It’s also working with aircraft manufacturers including Fort Worth’s Bell Helicopter in developing the vehicles.
Bell is working on a propulsion technology for electric VTOL aircraft that would make them quieter than helicopters.
“It’s not going to happen right away, tomorrow, but the technology is definitely there,” Bell Helicopter CEO Mitch Snyder told the Star-Telegram.