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Uber plans EUR20 million Paris air-taxi facility

Uber plans to expand its investment in developing air taxis through a research centre in Paris.

IHS Markit perspective

  • Implications: Uber's efforts to develop air taxis have increased with the announcement of a new R&D centre in Paris
  • Outlook: Uber's efforts to develop urban air transportation are increasing, although the company is not the only one investigating its potential. Uber's focus is on the development of the software and controls to support such a system, rather than the development of the vehicle itself.

Uber has announced plans for its first research-and-development (R&D) centre outside of the United States, reports Bloomberg, citing remarks made by the ride-hailing and transportation company's CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi, at a technology conference in Paris, France. Khosrowshahi reportedly said, "We're no longer just about cars, we're about urban mobility. It includes cars, carpool, electric bikes and flying cars, we hope." The report states that the facility will involve a EUR20-million investment and that it will focus on technologies to support development of Uber Elevate, its urban air transportation project.

Khosrowshahi said that Uber expects future transportation to be three dimensional, as vehicles will move vertically as well as horizontally. The laboratory will be named Advanced Technology Centre Paris and will open in the third quarter of 2018. Uber expects the facility will create new jobs in machine learning and computer vision. Uber says its reasons for choosing Paris as the facility's location include local engineering talent and France's role in global aviation, according to the report.

Outlook and implications
Uber's efforts to develop urban air transportation are increasing, although the company is not the only one investigating its potential. Uber's focus is on the development of the software and controls to support such a system, rather than the development of the vehicle itself. Uber's efforts to support Uber Elevate and develop urban air transportation include work with several partners. Among them are the US Army, NASA, and Brazilian aircraft manufacturer Embrear.

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The above article is an excerpt from AutoIntelligence Daily by IHS Markit. AutoIntelligence Daily provides same-day analysis of automotive news, events and trends. Get a free trial and read the full article.

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