Uber to test un­manned air­craft in Fort Worth

Lodi News-Sentinel - - BUSINESS - By Gor­don Dick­son

Uber and other com­pa­nies have a new place to test their driver­less — and pilotless — tech­nol­ogy in Fort Worth.

The well-known ride-shar­ing com­pany — which aims to de­velop an Uber El­e­vate air taxi sys­tem at DFW Air­port and Frisco by 2023 — is among the key play­ers in a new mo­bil­ity in­no­va­tion zone at Fort Worth's Al­liance Air­port.

Hill­wood, the com­pany that cre­ated the mas­sive Al­liance­Texas de­vel­op­ment in far north Fort Worth, an­nounced the cre­ation of the in­no­va­tion zone Mon­day. The com­pany says Uber and many other part­ners who al­ready have a pres­ence at Al­liance­Texas will be able to col­lab­o­rate as they de­velop au­to­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy for driver­less cars and air­craft.

The an­nounce­ment comes just ahead of a two-day Uber El­e­vate sum­mit in Wash­ing­ton, where com­pany of­fi­cials are ex­pected to up­date busi­ness and po­lit­i­cal lead­ers about the sta­tus of its plans to de­velop an ur­ban air taxi ser­vice.

An­other com­pany with a strong pres­ence in far north Fort Worth, Deloitte, will be di­rectly in­volved in the in­no­va­tion zone, of­fi­cials said. Deloitte, which is known for pro­vid­ing ac­count­ing ser­vices to its part­ner com­pa­nies, will pro­vide a "mo­bil­ity global prac­tice team" that will de­velop a busi­ness model for the zone, of­fi­cials said. Ini­tially, the mo­bil­ity in­no­va­tion zone will be housed in of­fice space for­merly oc­cu­pied by Bell, the Fort Worth-based he­li­copter man­u­fa­turer.

Mike Berry, Hill­wood pres­i­dent, says he en­vi­sions the in­no­va­tion zone be­com­ing a much higher pro­file com­po­nent of the busi­ness of­fer­ings at Al­liance Air­port in the next few years.

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