Uber will partner with Joby Aviation to power its upcoming air taxi service, Uber Air. The company makes e-VTOLS (electric vertical take-off and landing) craft that can transport up to four passengers on short-distance flights.
According to Uber, the partnership will see Joby supply the electric taxis while it constructs helipads and makes the aircraft available through its app. Uber says the first three cities to have Uber Air will be Dallas, Los Angeles, and Melbourne, Australia. The helipads are expected to be built by 2023.
Ride above — Air taxi startups view their products as an “above traffic” solution meant to address all the time people spend sitting on backed-up highways. Joby has raised $131 million to develop its vehicles, which the company says can ascend vertically and then travel at twice the speed of a helicopter.
As you might expect, they’re going to be quite a bit more expensive than your traditional Uber ride, at least initially. Uber has said at launch a 20-minute flight could cost you $100.
Remaining asset-light — The ride-sharing giant has continued to pursue the air taxi project despite intense investor demand for Uber to cut losses and become profitable. By partnering with outsiders instead of doing all the engineering itself, Uber can avoid the type of red ink that its autonomous car project has created.
Uber’s partnership with Joby is in line with the company’s fundamental business model of providing logistics and letting others supply the vehicles.