Earlier this month rumours started to circulate that Uber was looking to sell its flying taxi division. Now, it looks as though those rumours have been confirmed.
Uber announced on Tuesday, 8 December, that it has sold off its flying taxi service, Uber Elevate, to, to a California based electric VTOL aircraft company Joby Aviation.
The transaction is part of a complex deal that will see Uber invest $ 75 million into Joby Aviation along with expanding the partnership between the two companies. In 2019, Uber and Joby signed a deal that involved Uber using Joby’s vertical take-off and landing VTOL aircraft as part of the Uber Elevate Service, which is scheduled to take flight in 2023, after Joby’s aircraft receive FAA certification.
Under the deal, the two companies also agreed to intergrade their respective services into each other’s mobile applications, meaning Joby will now have access to Uber’s app infrastructure, and vice versa.
“This deal allows us to deepen our partnership with Joby, the clear leader in this field, to accelerate the path to market for these technologies,” said Uber CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi in a statement. “We’re excited for their transformational mobility solution to become available to the millions of customers who rely on our platform.”
Elevate is the second business Uber has sold off this week as the company seeks a path to profitability. On Monday, Uber announced the sale of its self-driving unit to autonomous vehicle start-up Aurora.
Although Uber had promised investors that it will achieve profitability by the end of 2021, the company still reported a $625m loss last quarter.
Elevate began in 2016 and, until earlier this year, its team had promised the launch of flying taxi services in Los Angeles, Dallas and Melbourne in 2023.
Joby was a partner in Elevate before taking over the business, and the two companies said they would each integrate the other company’s services into their own app.
“These tools and new team members will be invaluable to us as we accelerate our plans for commercial launch,” said Joby founder JoeBen Bevirt in a statement.
Joby said its “zero emissions” aircraft will seat four passengers and will feature vertical take-off and landing.
It will have a range of up to 241km and a top speed of 321kmh, the company said. The company is currently still testing the aircraft.
Uber was initially hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic, with rides – its main source of income – plummeting by about 80% in April, before rebounding.