Uber will debut its first “flying cars” by 2020, the ride-hailing company said Tuesday, an aggressive plan aimed at ushering in a future where workers make their daily commutes by air.

Uber plans to demo the futuristic vehicles in Dallas-Fort Worth and Dubai within three years, the company revealed during its first Uber Elevate Summit in Dallas. Pilot programs will follow, and riders can expect to summon an aircraft on the Uber app by 2023.

“Flying cars have been promised for decades, but are arriving now. So we actually get to live in this era of flying cars,” Jeff Holden, Uber’s chief product officer, said during the conference’s opening keynote Tuesday morning, which was livestreamed online. “We have a lot of work to do, though. This isn’t going to be easy.”

The news comes as interest is growing in Silicon Valley and beyond in “vertical take-off and landing aircraft” — small planes that take-off and land like a helicopter. Proponents say these vehicles, sometimes called flying cars, could shave time off commutes and ease congested roadways by opening new lanes in the sky. But much work remains to be done, both to perfect and regulate the technology.

Kicking off the three-day summit Tuesday morning, Holden outlined a future where a rider will open the Uber app and choose “UberAIR.” Then the company might send a standard Uber to shuttle the rider to a “skyport,” where he or she would board an electric VTOL aircraft shared with other passengers. A trip from San Jose to San Francisco, which often takes at least an hour and a half in traffic, would take 15 minutes by air, Holden said. And the flight would cost $1.32 per passenger per mile — about the same as Uber’s standard car service.

“This is why Uber’s running at this as opposed to taking a kind of careful approach, a slow approach to this,” Holden said. “We just want to usher it in as fast as possible because we all want to live in this world.”

But that aggressive attitude for which Uber is known — it’s the same mentality that got Uber’s self-driving cars temporarily kicked out of San Francisco when the company refused to get a state permit — could pose a problem as the company tries to push into aviation.

When Uber angered the California Department of Motor Vehicles last year, it packed up and moved its self-driving cars to Arizona. This time, Uber should try to stay on the Federal Aviation Administration’s good side because it needs the FAA to approve its vehicles and pilots, said Bryant Walker Smith, a transportation tech scholar with Stanford Law School.

“It’s FAA’s way, or no way,” he said.

Smith said Uber’s plan seems feasible from a technology perspective. But paying pilots and maintaining the vehicles will be expensive, he said. And Uber has to figure out how to avoid low-flying obstacles like birds and drones.

Officials in Dallas, Fort Worth and Dubai appear to welcome the prospect of Ubers flying over their cities. Calling the announcement a “remarkably important moment in Dallas’ history,” Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings said he chatted with Uber CEO Travis Kalanick about the potential of VTOLs to provide a safe, reliable and affordable alternative mode of transportation.

“We’ve gone North, we’ve gone South, we’ve gone East and West. Let’s go vertical,” Rawlings said during Tuesday’s conference. “And I’m so proud that Dallas has been chosen as the initial market of Uber Elevate.”

Uber plans to expand the program to additional cities, creating a world-wide network of flying cars. The vehicles will have pilots in the beginning, but Uber ultimately hopes to make them autonomous.

The ride-hailing company, which won’t build the flying cars itself, on Tuesday also revealed partnerships with several aircraft manufacturers that are working on VTOL technology — including Aurora Flight Sciences, Pipistrel Aircraft, Embraer, Mooney and Bell Helicopter. Uber also will work with ChargePoint to create a charger.

Uber already has chosen four locations in the Dallas area for flying car landing pads, and expects to start work on them in the next year, Holden said Tuesday.

In the United Arab Emirates, Uber hopes to conduct passenger flights at the World Expo in Dubai in 2020.

“The race is on. It’s a sprint in Dallas and Dubai to get to scale,” Holden said. “We’re just going to see how fast we can make this a reality.”

John Simpson of advocacy group Consumer Watchdog, which has been critical of Uber’s self-driving car efforts, would rather the company take its time. A “sprint” approach to rolling out flying cars is reckless and dangerous, Simpson said. His group previously called attention to reports that Uber’s self-driving cars were running red lights in San Francisco after the company pushed the cars onto city streets without state approval.

“Uber does not have a track record of paying attention to any kind of rules,” he said, “so I’m not sure Uber should be entrusted to develop (flying cars), or use them.”