Uber's plan for flying taxis in Dallas closer to reality

Uber is sharing new details about its plan to bring flying cars to North Texas.

The company says it hopes to implement its ‘Elevate’ program to Dallas by 2020.

Uber Aviation Director Mark Moore, who spent decades at NASA, shared just how much progress the company has made on its high-tech transportation project while talking to an industry conference on Wednesday.

It's was first any new information was shared since Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings announced the city and Dubai would be among the first to get the program.

Uber has lofty goals.

“Upwards of 100,000 people per day per city,” Moore said.

Uber shared maps that showed an Uber Air ride from DFW Airport to Frisco. An Uber X ride would take over an hour while an Uber Air would only take eight minutes. They hope the cost between the two would ultimately be comparable.

The company also plans to build Vertiports on existing parking garages so it doesn't have to build as much. Potential future stops under consideration include AT&T Stadium for a trip to a Cowboys game or Toyota's new massive headquarters in Plano.

“We can adapt these buildings and turn them into Vertiports for a very low cost,” Moore said.

Uber is working with five companies designing the vehicles. They will take off vertically like a helicopter but generate lift from wings like a plane. They will run all electric. Local company Bell Helicopter is one of those manufacturers.

“Every engineer wants to work on this problem,” said Scott Drennan with Bell. “It's one of the toughest problems out there and one of the most exciting conceptions of operations that an aerospace engineer type could work on.”

Uber knows it has to get the community on board. It's already placing noise sensors around the area to make sure its flying vehicles fly routes don't bug neighbors.

“It opens the door to the community engagement and getting the Vertiports approved and community backing it,” Moore said.

Uber needs the FAA backing too, which it is working with so the vehicles can be certified.

They hope to have demo flights in 2020 and roll out so customers can use it in 2023. Five plus cities would have it in 2025. In the 2030s, the vehicles could go pilot-free.           

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