Uber checked all the right boxes during the third annual Uber elevate summit that took place in Washington, D.C., june 11–12.
There were passionate speeches from Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, a new Safran Cabin prototype with a virtual-reality experience, Skyport concepts from leading architects, and even announcements of Melbourne, Australia, as the third partner city and Jaunt Air Mobility as a new electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) developer. The problem for Uber is that none of these announcements moved the needle in a meaningful way. Test flights are, for now, still scheduled to start next year, followed by a public launch in 2023, but the slow progress and remaining obstacles have cast these dates into serious doubt.
Uber is providing the platform and customers, while relying on a host of competing partners for the Skyport and vehicle designs. Almost every Uber Elevate executive reiterated how important these partners are to Uber’s success, but it is hard to ignore the fact that Uber holds all the cards in this relationship and presumably only needs one successful concept to make its vision a reality.
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July/ August 2019