Race for the sky

UBER Technologies hopes to one day operate a network of flying cars.

The ride-hailing company has laid out some aggressive plans to get closer to its first flight. Officials in Dallas-Fort Worth and Dubai have signed on to work with the company on testing vehicles that can take off and land vertically in their cities by 2020, Uber said at a conference in Dallas.

The San Francisco company said it was partnering with a handful of aircraft manufacturers and real estate firms, as well as with ChargePoint to lay an electric charging network.

Uber sketched out a clearer vision for its flying taxis at a time when it is struggling with urgent problems at the ground level.

The company is facing an internal investigation of its work culture, the ongoing search for a chief operating officer to help embattled leader Travis Kalanick, a core business with mounting losses despite rapid growth, and a lawsuit from Alphabet’s self-driving car group over alleged theft of documents.

Alphabet could also pose competition in the sky. CEO Larry Page has funded at least two flying car projects. The startups Kitty Hawk and Zee.Aero, separate from Alphabet, are racing to build personal aircraft similar to those Uber has proposed.

Kitty Hawk released a video showing one of its vehicles zooming over a lake, with a rider astride the top like on a motorcycle.

Airbus SE has proposed several different concepts for vertical take-off vehicles, and the government of Dubai is joining with China’s EHang to bring closed-top passenger drones to the city.

Uber first revealed its intentions to build a system of flying cars last autumn. In February, the company said it hired NASA aircraft engineer Mark Moore to work on Uber Elevate, its flying car initiative. Uber said it was teaming up with Aurora Flight Sciences, Pipistrel Aircraft, Embraer SA, Mooney International and Bell Helicopter Textron Inc. to develop electric vehicles.

It is working with Hillwood Properties in Dallas-Fort Worth and real estate firms in Dubai to choose sites and construct ports for vehicle take-offs and landings.

UBER Technologies hopes to one day operate a network of flying cars.

The ride-hailing company has laid out some aggressive plans to get closer to its first flight. Officials in Dallas-Fort Worth and Dubai have signed on to work with the company on testing vehicles that can take off and land vertically in their cities by 2020, Uber said at a conference in Dallas.

The San Francisco company said it was partnering with a handful of aircraft manufacturers and real estate firms, as well as with ChargePoint to lay an electric charging network.

Uber sketched out a clearer vision for its flying taxis at a time when it is struggling with urgent problems at the ground level.

The company is facing an internal investigation of its work culture, the ongoing search for a chief operating officer to help embattled leader Travis Kalanick, a core business with mounting losses despite rapid growth, and a lawsuit from Alphabet’s self-driving car group over alleged theft of documents.

Alphabet could also pose competition in the sky. CEO Larry Page has funded at least two flying car projects. The startups Kitty Hawk and Zee.Aero, separate from Alphabet, are racing to build personal aircraft similar to those Uber has proposed.

Kitty Hawk released a video showing one of its vehicles zooming over a lake, with a rider astride the top like on a motorcycle.

Airbus SE has proposed several different concepts for vertical take-off vehicles, and the government of Dubai is joining with China’s EHang to bring closed-top passenger drones to the city.

Uber first revealed its intentions to build a system of flying cars last autumn. In February, the company said it hired NASA aircraft engineer Mark Moore to work on Uber Elevate, its flying car initiative. Uber said it was teaming up with Aurora Flight Sciences, Pipistrel Aircraft, Embraer SA, Mooney International and Bell Helicopter Textron Inc. to develop electric vehicles.

It is working with Hillwood Properties in Dallas-Fort Worth and real estate firms in Dubai to choose sites and construct ports for vehicle take-offs and landings.

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