Uber Technologies Inc on Wednesday re-opened a contest to select the first international city to launch its proposed flying taxi project, following apparent delays in getting the service off the ground in Dubai, a previously proposed market.
UberAIR, as the service will be known, aims to launch demonstrator flights starting in 2020 and begin paid, intra-city operations in 2023, the company said.
Uber previously named Dubai as its third launch city but said on Tuesday it had reopened its selection process to include other cities which fit more of its criteria for showcasing how flying taxis can help to relieve urban congestion.
“Dubai has previously expressed an interest in (Uber’s) vision but we are broadening the pool given interest from other cities which is why we have launched this criteria and process,” a spokeswoman said, adding that discussions with Dubai continue.
It envisions a fleet of electric jet-powered vehicles – part helicopter, part drone and part fixed-wing aircraft – running multiple small rotors capable of both vertical take off and landing and rapid horizontal flight.
The San Francisco-based company is working with aviation regulators around the world to win up-front approvals, marking a break from past practices that put it at odds with authorities.
Cities interested in taking part can apply here (uber.com/air). Uber said it was not looking for tax breaks or local incentives, but was keen to work with cities which can work to bring the project to market as quickly as possible.