One day after uber hand The company is carrying out its autonomous car project for Silicon Valley start-ups, with an ambitious and money-intensive effort to manufacture flying cars.
Uber is handing over its flight project, Uber Elevate, to Air Taxi start-up Joby Aviation, the two companies said on Tuesday. Uber will invest $ 75 million in Joby’s effort to build a flying taxi, while agreeing to partner with the start-up when the flying car reaches the market.
Taking on two technology projects to unload the books, Uber Management, under pressure to make the company profitable, is taking such an initiative that critics said was a money pit, focusing on the company’s core ride-hailing service and the epidemic. One of the few bright spots in. : A fast growing delivery service. Uber recently completed the acquisition of its competitor Postmates, allowing the company to double on delivery.
Air taxis, like autonomous cars, are unlikely to make a significant impact for many years, and their annual development costs run into millions, if not millions.
“I know there are questions about whether Uber has any ‘big, bold’ bets left,” said Uber’s chief executive, Dara Khosroshahi, in an email to company employees that was seen by The New York Times . “I understand that question, but I think it misses the big, bold stakes before us: to be the undisputed global leader in both mobility and delivery.”
The company declined to comment further.
The deal is also a sign that the air taxi industry, which has been full of much publicity and investment over the past several years, consolidates around a small group of companies. Investments are being made for a select group of investors, said Asad Hussain, analyst at Pitchbook, a research firm, that it monitors financial activity.
According to Pitchbook, around one billion dollars has been invested in such an “air mobility” company in 2020.
Jobi Aviation, based in Santa Cruz, California, has a $ 820 million business, with new investment from Uber. The company is trying to create an air taxi service that offers the option of highly congested roadways in large urban areas. It hopes to launch a service in at least one city by 2023. But first, government regulators must approve the use of their aircraft, which is a cross between an aircraft and a helicopter that flies vertically.
When the service starts, it will work with Uber’s ride-hailing service, said Joby’s executive chairman, Paul Sciarra. In other words, each company will offer an app that will allow customers to ride through the other.
Joby Uber is acquiring Elevate’s technology and its engineering staff. Mr. Shisera refused to say how much Joby paid for the unit. But if the deal was structured like Uber’s agreement with self-driving car start-ups, the answer is zero.
On Monday, Arora said it was taking on Uber’s autonomous vehicle unit, but was not paying for it. Like Joby, it received significant investment and partnership promise from Uber.
Uber’s decision to shut down its air taxi effort shows how expensive and difficult such an effort will be in the coming years, said Mark Groden, the chief executive of SkyRise, another company. Discovering new types of urban air transport.
“Cracking this market requires a lot of technology that has not been invented yet,” he said. “This is not a simple business.”