Uber has left the ground as it explores an on-demand helicopter services for clients hoping to get from point A to point B even faster than Uber’s four-wheeled taxis.
Airbus Group SE will provide helicopters to Uber Technologies Inc. for its on-demand services, the European plane maker’s chief executive said Sunday.
The project will launch at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah this week.
Uber, which launched in 2009 and runs a popular smartphone app that allows people to hail vehicles for mostly local trips, recently has expanded its offerings to incorporate other forms of transportation, including on-demand rickshaws in India and boats in Turkey.
The U.S. tech firm will call its helicopter service UberChopper service and has been experimenting with ferrying clients between Manhattan and the Hamptons since 2013. The company also has experimented with the helicopter rides for special events, such as at the Cannes Film Festival in May or the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in June.
Uber joins the move to disrupt the traditional transportation business, convulsing the livery business with its self-employed Uber drivers and tying in knots city regulators who have to attend to the regulations they set forth and the taxi drivers and unions who operate under them.
But the world is changing.
Amazon is looking to speed merchandise delivery via drones, again putting at risk the Big Box retailers such as Wal-Mart, whose holiday sales were down, forcing the U.S.’s largest retailer to close stores nationwide to stay profitable.
If helicopters work out, will Uber join NetJets as corporate clients stand on the tarmac with the thumbs pointing to their desired destination?
Count on it.
Full Wall Street Journal story here: http://www.wsj.com/articles/airbus-to-join-forces-with-uber-for-on-demand-helicopter-service-ceo-says-1453048668