Uber has assembled a network of partners that include vehicle manufacturers, real estate developers and technology developers. As part of the strategy to bring 'uberAIR' to market, the business plans to partner with three launch cities.
Dallas and Los Angeles have previously been announced as the first two launch cities and Uber is now 'seeking an international city as the third partner'. These will be the first to offer uberAIR flights, with the goals of operating demonstrator flights starting in 2020 and beginning commercial operations in 2023.
The third launch city opportunity is open to any city outside the US where there is a desire for a dramatic improvement in transportation and conditions are conducive to urban air mobility.
It said that cities with a greater metropolitan area population in excess of 2m people and a density of over 2,000 people per square mile would be able to support pooled ridesharing services and benefit the most from an uberAIR network.
A large and dispersed city layout means that uberAIR will be able to offer significant time saving benefits at speeds of 150-200mph. The presence of a nearby large airport where travel may often take more than one hour to or from the city centre—due to distance, demand, or bottlenecks (e.g., bridges, tunnels)—will make for a compelling use case, according to Uber.
Because uberAIR will be providing transportation from node-to-node rather than point to point, it says it is 'critical that it can be integrated into a multi-modal solution that includes other options such as public transit, ridesharing, bikeshare and walking in a dense residential area'.
To facilitate the building of Skyports, Uber said would be important to have the involvement of at least one large local real estate partner. It added that delivering on the goal of operating '100% electric VTOL aircraft will ultimately require a robust electrical grid supplied by low carbon intensity energy. A city's commitment to reduce its carbon footprint and invest in grid modernising technology is critical.