Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi was on India tour till yesterday and as earlier we reported that during his visit he will meet Indian government officials, regulators and company employees. Now the latest news is coming that Khosrowshahi had a meeting with Jayant Sinha, who’s India’s Minister of State for Civil Aviation, and talked about possible partnerships between the Uber and India, including a flying car collaboration.
Khosrowshahi tweeted about the meeting with the minister on Thursday, saying the duo discussed both airport partnerships and what they deem is “the future of commercial air travel” — flying vehicles.
— dara khosrowshahi (@dkhos) February 22, 2018
Notably, Uber is said to be working with 6-7 different vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft and sees big potential for flying taxis in India, especially cities such as Mumbai where cars can barely move during peak hours.
Moreover in last month, Mark Moore, who is Engineering Director of Aviation at Uber, told a business daily that for electric flying taxis Uber is talking with a lot of governments across the world and India makes a lot of sense, particularly in densely populated areas and Uber would love to work with Indian government for this.
Notably, for quite some time India’s Aviation Minister Jayant Sinha is also advocating on flying taxis in India. Last month, he said that Indian aviation department department is actively discussing the concept of an “air rickshaw” or “Drone Rikshaw” to solve the issue of transportation in the country.
In December last year, while speaking at a tech conclave Mr.Sinha urged startups and tech-giants to explore the scope for developing ‘drone-rickshaws’ and electrical two-wheelers to address traffic problems and air pollution. He said the cost of travelling by air is Rs 4 per km, which is equivalent to travelling in an autorickshaw.”We in the future are going to see Air Rickshaws. Drones that are powered by electric propulsion”, he further added.
Uber, on other hand, has already working on initiative of flying-taxi fleet called uberAIR and in last November even announced a flying car partnership with NASA late last year, revealing it will start testing such solutions in 2020. The cab-hailing firm is already understood to be working on a prototype capable of carrying four passengers and flying at up to 200mph (322kmph). The taxi is planned to be tested at the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport before its trials move to Los Angeles.
Additionally, it is to be noted that in order to improve India’s transportation system, Niti Aayog, which is Indian govt’s think tank, has also working on Pod Taxi and for piloting the same it has shortlisted three Indian cities — Varanasi, Nagpur, and Gurugram.