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Uber Elevate, Related Companies Offer Glimpse at Santa Clara’s Future

The image looks like something far in Santa Clara’s future, but if Uber Elevate has anything to say about it, it will not be too far into the future.

On Tuesday, the company announced a partnership with Related Companies, the company behind a 240-acre development along Highway 237, adjacent to Levi’s Stadium. The development was already slated to include shops, office buildings and housing, but now it could also include a skyport in the future.

“We are thrilled to be working with Related to design skyports for Uber Air, a key part of taking Uber’s transportation platform to new heights,” Eric Allison, Head of Uber Elevate said in a press release. “Together we look forward to spurring innovation that can help improve urban mobility in cities around the world.”

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Kaiser Permanente

The skyport would be designed to charge up to five of Uber’s aerial rideshare aircraft at one time. It would also have a landing area and a take-off area so flights could land and leave at the same time.

Uber Elevate hopes the electric aircrafts will be able to transport tens of thousands of commuters above the Bay Area’s cities for the same price as an UberX trip.

While plans for a skyport are very much in the visionary stages, the City of Santa Clara is prepared to help in any way it can.

“As ‘The Center of What’s Possible,’ Santa Clara is a logical choice for Uber Elevate to select as the future site of an Uber Air skyport at the Related Santa Clara development,” said Lenka Wright, the Director of Communications for the City of Santa Clara. “While there are many regulatory processes ahead for Uber Elevate, the City of Santa Clara is supportive of exploring all modes of transportation and looks forward to seeing how this cutting-edge venture would further transform Santa Clara as a future-forward city.”

Uber plans to launch Uber Air in Dallas-Fort Worth/Frisco Texas and Los Angeles first. If all goes as planned, it will hold flight demonstrations next year with the hopes of making aerial ridesharing commercially available in 2023.

There are a number of regulatory hurdles that Uber will face before it gets the go ahead in Santa Clara.

The site’s close proximity to Levi’s Stadium and the San Jose International Airport could cause problems. Planes taking off from San Jose often pass over the area during liftoff and the presence of Uber aircraft would cause more air traffic in the area.

There may also be security issues involved. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) currently enforces a no-fly zone for drones and unmanned aircraft over Levi’s Stadium during large events like the 49ers games.

There is no word yet if the FAA would have reservations about allowing Uber Elevate to fly its aircraft around the stadium during games.

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Owens Corning

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