Uber’s holding a big conference today in Los Angeles, Uber Elevate, to share more about its ambitions to launch a flying taxi service. For those unfamiliar, Uber’s goal is to start testing these vertical takeoff and landing vehicles in 2020 and have its first official ride in 2023. At the summit today, Uber Head of Elevate Eric Allison shed some light on the cost of uberAIR, Uber’s aerial ridesharing service, for consumers.
The passenger cost per mile, Allison said, needs to be competitive with the variable cost of car ownership. Car ownership, on a per mile basis, costs between $0.464 to $0.608, according to AAA.
However, uberAIR will not be cheaper on a cost per passenger mile at launch. Initially, uberAIR will cost $5.73 per passenger mile. In the near-term, Uber says it will get the cost down to $1.86 per passenger mile before ideally getting to $0.44 per passenger mile. At that point, it would actually be cheaper to use uberAIR.
Allison said to envision a world where your commute will be faster and cheaper through the air, to the point where it wouldn’t economically make sense to own your own car. Meanwhile, Allison said there’s “surprisingly large demand for aerial ridesharing.” That’s based on a study Uber conducted that found if uberAIR were available today, 700 million people would choose to use it.
I’m here at Elevate, so be on the lookout for more news over the next couple of days.