If Uber keeps to its ambitious plans, Los Angeles and the Dallas-Fort Worth area will get flying taxi service starting in 2023. At its Elevate conference in L.A. today, Uber announced that it wants another city by then—and one outside the U.S. Those following this topic might ask, “What about Dubai?” which Uber announced as a launch partner last year. The emirate seems to have moved on to the next shiny object, so Uber is opening it up to new, more committed applicants.
It’s encouraging cities to make the case why they are best for Uber Elevate, asking them to get in touch by July 1. It’s a little like Amazon’s HQ2 competition, though not offering scads of super high-paying jobs. However, Uber also emphatically said that it isn’t looking for tax breaks or other incentives.
Some of the top things Uber is looking for:
- Metropolitan population of over 2 million people, with over 2,000 per square mile
- Multi-center city dealing with significant traffic congestion
- Nearby large airport that takes more than one hour to reach from the city center
- Aviation-friendly environment lacking extreme weather, temperature, and elevation
- Robust electrical grid supplied by low-carbon energy sources
Given these and other requirements listed on Uber Elevate’s website, and the country’s enthusiasm for aeronautics, I’m betting a dollar the winner will be Berlin.