Uber Is Looking Towards The Skies To Unlock The Real Potential Of Cities
Travelling to places within the city, like the futuristic cartoon “The Jetsons”, will now soon become reality. After the launch of Heli-taxi service in Bengaluru and Shimla-Chandigarh earlier this year, India is on a verge to get its first Air-Taxi by Uber.
Uber is planning to launch its air taxi service, UberAir, which is the company’s concept for urban air mobility, soon in India.
Among the top five companies chosen for operating UberAir, Uber has shortlisted India also. The other countries were Japan, France, Australia and Brazil.
Why India was chosen?
Uber has made its mark in the US market. To expand its footprints outside the US market, Uber’s options were limited. As it has been ousted from China and has been facing several hurdles in Europe. India emerges as the biggest market outside the US.
Qualifying Other Criteria
The ideal launch city for Uber’s Air taxi is a dense metropolitan area with a density of over 2,000 people per square mile and a population of over 2 million people. Cities with traffic dense congestion which means that even distances of 10-15 kilometres can take an hour.
The city must have the government with a futuristic philosophy on urban transportation and regulation and have conducive and stable environmental conditions are given preference. An airport at least an hour away from the city centre is a must. Indian Cities quality all of these criteria quite well.
Cutting Travel Time
Traffic congestion costs major Indian cities Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, and Bengaluru Rs 1.5 lakh crore($21 billion) each year.
With Uber’s air taxis travelling 150-200 miles per hour, long rides by road can be reduced to just a few minutes 1,000 to 2,000 feet above the ground. With these air taxis, one can reach from Mumbai airport to CST or from Gurgaon to Central Delhi in just 10 minutes. It can cut travel time in a congested city like Mumbai by 90 per cent.
Exploring Other opportunities
Uber is working with multiple partners to help with technology for developing aircraft and infrastructure for trips within a range of 15 and 100 km.
But Uber’s vision for the skies is not just limited to transporting people, but also things. The company is actively testing small aerial vehicles for delivery of food and other products. As a spinoff, Uber Eats will take to air to increase the speed and reach of its food delivery business.