Uber, the ride-hailing company, is taking over the skies next. They will open a $24 million flying taxi research center in Paris. This is Uber’s first research and development hub outside of North America.
In 2016, Uber created its Elevate program, designed to build all-electric, vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) aircraft. To support this effort, Uber opened advanced technology offices in Pittsburgh, Toronto, and San Francisco.
“Today we’re committing to a new Advanced Technologies Center, which will initially focus on Uber Elevate,” wrote Eric Allison, Uber’s head of aviation programs in a statement. “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.”
The Advanced Technologies Center Paris (ATCP) will build building artificial intelligence and airspace management systems to support uberAIR. Uber will spend $24 million on research on “capabilities across airspace management, autonomy, real-time communication networks, energy storage, and charging systems.”
“Building the future of our cities will require the best and brightest minds working together,” Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said in a statement. “With world-class engineers and a leading role in global aviation, France is the perfect place to advance our Uber Elevate program and new technology initiatives. We’re excited to partner with École polytechnique to shape the future of urban mobility, on the ground and in the air.”
Uber will begin a five-year partnership with École Polytechnique (l’X), a prestigious French engineering school located in Paris. ATCP will also work with European city planners and regulators to meet future energy demands.