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Uber to invest €20 million in building flying taxis in France

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Uber to invest €20 million in building flying taxis in France
Photo: AFP
16:38 CEST+02:00
Ride hailing app Uber wants to build flying taxis in France and announced on Thursday it would invest €20 million to develop the project.

The American company made the announcement at the VivaTech technology fair in Paris on Thursday.

It wants to develop an all-electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft in France over the next five years and will throw €20 million at the flying taxi project, known as Uber Elevate.

That will include a new research and development centre in Paris, its first technology hub outside of North America. The centre will focus entirely on flying cars.

"France is a perfect home for our next step forward, with its strong history of research and development, world class engineers and a unique role in aviation worldwide," Uber said in a statement.

The Paris research centre will focus entirely on flying cars and will conduct research into airspace management, given that the legal restrictions on public airspace are huge.

It will also look at communication in real time, energy storage and charging systems, Uber said.

Co-organiser of VivaTech Dara Khosrowshahi said Uber Elevate wold not likely see the light of day before 2025.

"The Elevate project is about adding a third dimension to mass transport for longer distances within 'super-cities', and I see the first commercial applications developing around 2025 and beyond," Khosrowshahi told Les Echos newspaper.

Uber has a mixed history with French authorities after running into legal problems over its UberPop service in 2015. The service which effectively allowed anyone with a car to become a taxi driver was banned in France.

The company also promised on Thursday to increase social protection for its drivers in France.

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