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Odds on Uber Elevate’s Flying Taxi Service: Where Will It Debut? How Much Will It Cost?

Sascha Paruk

by Sascha Paruk in Entertainment

Jan 10, 2020 · 10:40 AM PST

Image of an Uber Elevate prototype
RIde-sharing company Uber wants to take metropolitan taxi services to new heights, literally, with Uber Elevate. Photo by Uber on Youtube.
  • Uber wants to create a network of flying taxis
  • Hyundai has built a prototype that’s on display at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas
  • When will this futuristic project get off the ground?

Flying taxis: Uber wants to operate them; Hyundai wants to build them; and I definitely want to see them in Vancouver, because it’s snowing here and the chionophobic population of my fair city is currently slip-sliding its way into chaos.

South Korean automaker Hyundai is currently displaying a prototype air taxi at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. That lead to some contacts reaching out and asking if we could set odds on whether “Uber Elevate” will be getting off the ground in the near future.

I said I’d wing it on one condition: I get to include every air-travel pun I can think of.

Uber Air Odds

Proposition SBD’s Odds
Over/Under launch date of Uber Elevate in the US 2027.5
Odds Uber is a top-two ride sharing company in the US at the time of launch 1/3
Over/Under cost of a 20-mile trip in Uber Elevate’s first year of operation $124.50
Over/Under average wage of an Uber Elevate “driver” in first year of operation $4.65 per mile
Over/Under ride time from Boston’s Downtown Crossing to Gillette Stadium on Uber Elevate 12.5 minutes

We are not overly optimistic that Uber Elevate will take flight in the next five years. While this might seem as simple as operating a helicopter taxi service, there is likely to be a ton of bureaucratic red-tape and infrastructure concerns. Also, the FAA might have something to say about the whole thing. The skies are a heavy regulated realm, for good reason.

Hyundai’s efforts to create a usable, safe, and financially viable flying taxi is only a small part of the battle.

That said, we do expect Uber Elevate – or some corollary thereof – to be operational within the next decade, at the very least. That leads to the question: where will we first see flying taxis stateside?

Odds to Be One of the First Five US Cities with a Skyport

CIty SBD’s Odds
Los Angeles 1/15
Dallas 1/9
San Francisco/San Jose 1/2
New York 2/3
San Diego 4/3
Austin 3/2
Houston 3/1
Seattle 4/1
Washington, DC 4/1
Boston 4/1
Minneapolis 5/1
Chicago 6/1

Uber has already stated that it wants to start its air service in LA and Dallas. Its headquarters are in the Bay Area, making San Francisco an obvious choice, as well.

New York also features highly because it’s simply too big and too rich a mark to wait on.

The rest of the top-12 option above are rounded out by the cities with massive populations which have also taken kindly to Uber’s terrestrial taxi service.

Odds on First NFL Stadium with a Skyport

Proposition SBD’s Odds
Levi’s Stadium (San Francisco 49ers) 5/2
AT&T Stadium (Dallas Cowboys) 3/1
SoFi Stadium (LA Rams/Chargers) 4/1
CenturyLink Field (Seattle Seahawks) 9/1
NRG Stadium (Houston Texans) 15/1
Allegiant Stadium (Las Vegas Raiders) 15/1

Not surprisingly, the odds to have the NFL’s first Skyport closely mirror the city odds, above. San Francisco, Dallas, and Los Angeles lead the pack.

Vegas’ Allegiant Stadium would be higher on the list, but it’s only going to be an eight-minute drive from the Strip to the stadium. There may not be a big need for a Skyport at what should be one of the NFL’s most futuristic stadiums.

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