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Air Taxis

May 16, 2021 | Trends

At a 2019 confab of industry experts, aviation regulators, and potential partners in Los Angeles, Uber unveiled its latest skyport designs for Uber Elevate, its vision of the future of transportation. The company painted an optimistic picture of its commercial network of air taxis, which it promised to debut by 2023. Then came the pandemic, and in December 2020, the company reportedly sold its flying taxi business to another startup Joby Aviation.
  • Market dimensions โ€“ The global air taxi market is forecast to reach $6.6 billion by 2030, with electric aircraft accounting for $3.4 billion. Collectively, the electric and parallel hybrid segments will make up 83% of the market that year.
  • Joby Aviation โ€“ Uber presented a decidedly rosy scenario, but the fact remains that the current system of air mass transit needs much disruptive innovation. There is no guarantee that Joby Aviation, aircraft pictured above, will do any better than Uber, despite its $1.6 billion cash injection via a SPAC merger with Reinvent Technology Partners. Uber had developed very elaborate plans, including a skyport design by Humphreys & Partners that could accommodate up to 900 passengers per hour on each level. Under the acquisition deal outlined above, Joby would now own those plans.
  • Lilium โ€“ On Mar. 30, 2021, another air shuttle start-up, Germany-based Lilium announced its own SPAC merger with San Francisco-based Qell, which would net the company $380 million in cash.

Uber Elevateโ€™s 2019 White Paper was entitled โ€œFast-Forwarding to a Future of On-Demand Urban Air Transportation.โ€ It looks like the air taxi market is poised for take-off. Letโ€™s hope that the landing is smooth and uneventful.

Michael Tchongโ€™s Ubertrends book
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