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

Ride hailing app Uber wants to build flying taxis in France and announced on Thursday it would invest €20 million to develop the project.

Uber to invest €20 million in building flying taxis in France
Photo: AFP

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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Uber launches ‘Jump’ electric bikes and scooters in Paris

US ride-hailing group Uber said Wednesday that it would start deploying electric bikes and scooters for rent on Paris streets as soon as this week, joining a crowded market which city officials have vowed to rein in.

Uber launches 'Jump' electric bikes and scooters in Paris
Uber is set to launch its fleet of electric bikes and scooters in Paris as soon as this week. Photo: AFP
Initially 500 of its Jump bikes and 500 scooters will be rolled out, before Uber extends the programme to Paris suburbs and other French cities.
They will be so-called “dockless” rentals that can be picked up and left anywhere, a system that has proved a headache for residents who often find them blocking pavements or strewn across the city's picturesque squares.
An estimated 15,000 scooters operated by several companies have flooded the French capital since their introduction last year, a number projected to surge 
to 40,000 by the end of this year.
This month Paris said it would start imposing fines of 135 euros ($150) for riding scooters on pavements, and 35 euros for improper parking.


Like the other nine scooter operators in the city, Uber will also have to pay an annual licensing fee of 50 to 65 euros per scooter, depending on the size of its fleet.
And Uber said it had already signed the code of good conduct unveiled by Paris officials last week.
Rental prices for both the bikes and scooters will be the same: a one-euro unlocking fee and then 15 cents per minute.
The bikes will have a top speed of 25 km/h (15 mph), while the scooters can reach 20 km/h.
Uber bought Jump, a fellow San Francisco-based start-up, last year. Its bright-red bikes are already present in several US cities as well as in Lisbon and Berlin.
Uber had already announced Tuesday its plans to develop scooter offerings across Europe, beginning with Madrid.