Uber scraps its flying taxi project, passes it off to startup Joby Aviation
Did anyone really expect Uber to come out with a flying taxi?
In case you were unaware, Uber has been working on flying taxis for over a year. Yep, flying taxis. The company had an ambitious goal of releasing a version of this by 2023, but it seems that ambition has been grounded, as the company has now handed off the project to flying car startup, Joby Aviation.
According to The New York Times, Uber is giving its work to Joby Aviation, alongside a $75 million investment. This brings Joby’s total funding to over $800 million. In addition, Uber has also agreed to partner with the company if the company is able to bring a flying car to market.
Uber’s flying taxi project joins its autonomous car project, which was also recently handed off to another company, Aurora.
For both of the projects, it comes down to money and focus. Both of these projects are huge money sinks, and it seems the company would rather focus on improving its ridesharing and delivery services. Dara Khosrowshahi, Uber’s chief executive, confirms as much, stating in an email to employees, “I know there are questions about whether Uber has any ‘big, bold’ bets left. I understand that question, but I think it misses the big, bold bets right in front of us: to become the undisputed global leaders in both Mobility and Delivery.”
When it comes to flying cars, there’s still a lot to be figured out, with many of the technologies yet to be invented. That research takes time and money, something Uber isn’t ready to commit to. NYT notes that, to date, almost a billion dollars has been invested into flying car tech, in 2020 alone.
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