It won’t be an exaggeration to say that ride-sharing platforms like Uber have changed the way people commute around the world. The popular app-based ride-hailing service, which arrived in India back in 2013, continues to be the preferred mode of transportation of many people around the country, despite facing stiff competition from homegrown competitor Ola.
After roads, Uber now wants to take to the skies. The company’s ambitious aerial taxi project – Uber Elevate – is currently under development, and the service (uberAIR) is slated to commence in 2023 in the US cities of Dallas (TX) and Los Angeles (CA).
However, apart from the aforementioned cities, Uber is also seeking a third international market for its flying taxi service, and if things go well, that market could very well turn out to be India. According to ToI, this was conveyed by an Uber team to Union Minister (State) for Civil Aviation, Jayant Sinha.
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“They are considering five countries for launch of air taxis. When I had met Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi (on February 22, 2018), I had stressed to him the need to do so, given our country’s consumer base. Now, Uber has informed me that India is one of the five countries they are evaluating for launching air taxis. They are very close to selecting India (for this),” Sinha was quoted by ToI as saying, after his meeting with Madhu Kannan, Uber’s Chief Business Officer (India and emerging markets).
Uber Elevate will include aircraft capable of Vertical Takeoff and Landing (VTOL). These will operate from an extensive, distribute network of ‘vertiports’ (VTOL hubs with multiple takeoff and landing pads, as well as charging infrastructure).