DALLAS — According to Uber, air travel is the future of ridesharing. The San Francisco-based company announced it’s currently developing the new service, Uber Elevate Network.
The company claims through the use of small aircraft, it will cut a 1 hour, 40-minute commute down to 15 minutes at an affordable price to the average consumer.
"The technologies that you need to make this happen exist today. It’s just a matter of bringing them together into the regulatory environment," said Michael Thacker of Bell Helicopter a partner of the project.
On Tuesday morning, Dallas and Dubai were announced as test cities for the Uber Elevate Network. Fort-Worth based Bell Helicopter is playing a key role in designing the new aircraft that has yet to be revealed.
"We’re very excited about the fact that Dallas-Fort Worth is among the first communities to be involved in this. We think it’s going to be a great opportunity to having our products flying in this metro area, and we look forward to what it could mean to the economy as well," Thacker said.
This may sound familiar to you. Back in 2014, Uber offered helicopter rides to and from AT&T Stadium in Arlington. Uber makes it clear that it was a promotional stunt — and that the so-called "Elevate Network" will be much different.
"The user experience will be nothing like the uber chopper. Helicopters are simply not capable of being low enough noise, high enough efficiency and level of safety and low cost that must be associated with these vehicles," said Mark Moore Uber’s Engineering Director of Aviation.
Uber has yet to say exactly what the aircraft is going to look like — but does say they’ll be ready to launch during the world expo in Dubai in 2020. They also say the aircraft you may be flying in are already being tested in top secret locations.
"Uber is not doing jetpacks. These are going to be a new type of vehicle that is going to be much more quieter than a helicopter and much more efficient," Moore said.
For now, all we have is renderings of what the future of travel may look like — and Uber executives are convinced their dream will become a reality.
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