Uber is hoping to get its air taxi service off the ground by 2023, and on Thursday, it announced that it would be investing $23 million in a new research center in Paris devoted to just that.
Uber’s Elevate program for UberAIR was announced in 2016, but this will be the first research center devoted to developing the idea, as well as Uber’s first office outside of North America. Over five years, the company says it will invest 23 million in developing technologies that will make UberAIR a reality.
“This begins with building artificial intelligence and airspace management systems to support uberAIR at scale, which will be key to achieving our goal of demonstration flights in Dallas, Los Angeles, and a third, international city by 2020,” the company said in a statement.
Labeled the Advanced Technologies Center Paris (or ATCP) the lab will focus on research related to airspace management, real-time communication networks, energy storage, and charging systems. Essentially, it will be the hub where Uber maps out how its urban air taxi system will work.
Similar to ground transport Uber, UberAIR would offer ride-sharing access across large metropolitan cities. The idea here is to create a new, electric-run transport option for highly congested cities that currently struggle with extreme gridlock, like L.A. The company has partnered with Dallas and Los Angeles to launch the program, and is looking for another, international city.
Uber also announced that it’s entered into a five-year partnership with a leading French technology institute, Ecole Polytechnique. The Paris research center is slated to open this fall.