Uber Drones Are Heckling People Stuck in Traffic

Getty Images / Bruce Bennett

Uber wants to cash in on the lucrative market in Latin America, with plans to double its presence by 2018. And right now, it seems like one of its chief marketing gimmicks is flying ad-toting quadcopter drones over frustrated commuters stuck in traffic in Mexico City.

The future of the ride-sharing company depends on international growth, and if it’s going to stay in the game, Uber needs to up the ante. The company has recently engaged in a costly war with rival Didi Chuxing. After burning through some mega bucks, Uber decided to pull out of the Chinese market and focus on growing its business halfway around the world.

With under-funded competitors, Uber’s management sees Latin America as a ride-sharing gold mine.

The company already does more business in Mexico City than anywhere else, but Uber wants more. In order to increase growth and keep competitors at bay, the company rolled out its new carpooling service — uberPOOL — in Mexico City and other cosmopolitan areas.

To get the word out, Uber has enlisted a fleet of ad-toting drones, buzzing through traffic, and guilting people into carpooling by saying the city is for people, not cars. “Driving by yourself?” another ad asks, “This is why you can never see the volcanoes.”

The ads may seem like a push to be more environmentally conscious, as the skies above Mexico City are often filled with smog, but really it’s just a push to use the new service.

The ride-sharing giant will also start accepting cash, rather than automating payments through credit cards or Paypal, so more people can afford to use its service.

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