Eric Allison, Head of Elevate
Uber Air is our most ambitious vision for the future. It takes Uber’s tech into the skies by making it possible for people to push a button and get an affordable flight. We are working with government and industry stakeholders to create the world’s first aerial rideshare network with safe, quiet, and electric Uber Air vehicles transporting tens of thousands of people across cities for the same price as an uberX trip of the same distance.
How long have you been at Uber?
“1 year and 8 months.”
What did you do before joining Uber?
“Before Uber, I worked for a privately owned electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL or “flying car”) aircraft company. I ran engineering and built the team for four years, and then became CEO.”
What attracted you to the Elevate team?
“I had been following the work of the Uber Elevate team since the initiative was launched. It was clear to me that the Elevate team was providing a.logic in a way that I had not seen other companies in this space focus on as they developed vehicle-specific technology. I jumped at the opportunity to lead the Elevate team because I strongly believe that Uber is ideally positioned to help bring aerial mobility to people around the world.”
Describe your team to someone outside of Uber?
“Elevate is Uber’s vision to help take transportation off the grid and move ridesharing into the sky. We are working with aviation company partners to help create new types of all-electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft that can, with safety as a priority, efficiently move people between connected skyports in high-demand urban areas. In the coming years, our goal is to launch Uber Air, a new product on the Uber platform that lets people push a button and get a flight.”
Describe a typical day?
“I travel a lot to engage with partners, meet with regulators, and speak at industry events. This can make my weekly schedule a bit unpredictable, but in general, I try to keep a regular cadence of meetings with my direct reports and other key leaders on the team. These include 1-1 meetings, as well as program reviews and problem-solving discussions.”
What are the biggest challenges you need to solve?
“There are so many! Because we are trying to weave everyday flight of people and things into the Uber platform, we have to simultaneously work on vehicle partnerships and infrastructure partnerships to support this new ecosystem. In addition, we’re building the technology to help manage fleets of flying vehicles connected to the Uber network and developing operational capabilities to weave together different modes of transportation. Keeping all of these activities synchronized requires strategic planning and constant attention to make sure priorities are balanced correctly.”
What are your biggest achievements since joining the team?
“In addition to putting on two of Uber’s highest-profile events — the 2018 Elevate Summit and the 2019 Elevate Summit, we launched Uber Copter in NYC this past July. Copter is Uber’s first truly multimodal product, seamlessly weaving ground and air trips together into a single trip with a single push of a button.”
List the top 5 skills for success in your team?
- Flexibility – things can change fast, and you have to be willing to roll with it
- Analytical firepower – we are a data-driven organization
- Technical aptitude – willingness to understand problems deeply and think from first principles
- Exceptional communication – our team is geographically diverse and constantly moving. Clear communication is critical to getting things done right the first time.
- Executive presence – a core part of our mission is building partnerships. All levels of our team are called upon to represent Elevate to external partners.