While drone taxis in the US may seem to be a long way off, Uber has a shorter time frame for augmenting the popular Uber Eats service with food delivery drones, called within the company “Uber Express.”
In these days, large companies just can’t keep secrets. The Wall Street Journal reports that Uber is advertising for an “operations executive” to bring the delivery drone project to implementation as soon as next year – and scale to other markets by 2021. When the Journal contacted Uber for details, the company removed a related listing, saying it was still in “very early days.”
Uber’s efforts at being first passenger drones, however, are not secret – and they have made progress. Uber started a drone advertising campaign in 2016. Last November, the company established a testing relationship with NASA to partner on UTM testing – establishing themselves as a stakeholder in low-altitude commercial operations. At that time, Uber said that they hoped to test drone taxis in Los Angeles as early as 2020. In May of this year, Uber formed a research and development agreement with the U.S. Army to work on silent vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) passenger drones.
Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.
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