Uber opening new air taxi development centre in Paris

One month on from the Uber Elevate conference in San Fransisco, UberAir is expanding outside of America, setting up a new Advanced Technologies Centre in Paris.

The new facility will be focused on the development of Uber’s upcoming air taxi service UberAir, developing new airspace management, autonomy, communications and storage technology for the service.

Uber will be investing €20 million into research and development at the new centre over the next five years. This facility represents the first Uber R&D hub outside of North America -- its other advanced-technology offices are based in Pittsburgh, Toronto and San Francisco.

Advanced Technologies Centre Paris will be opened in autumn 2018 and will work with European city planners and regulators to help develop infrastructure for electric air transport. This includes Uber’s own “Skyports”, the helipads for its eVTOL air taxis which are planned to become available to passengers by 2028.

The service is currently on track to begin its first demonstration flights in Dallas, Los Angeles and a third, unannounced city by 2020.

Alongside, this announcement, the ride-sharing company also partnered with a local university and research institute, the École Polytechnique, to setup a five-year research programme called ‘Integrated Urban Mobility’.  The research chair will be focused on researching new artificial intelligence, aviation and electric transport.

An Uber spokesperson said in a statement: “As an institution at the cutting-edge of science and technology we are excited to work with École Polytechnique to take urban mobility forward. Together we’ll work towards a future where anyone can get a flight at the push of a button.”

Last month’s was the second Uber Elevate conference. The biggest news from the event was the unveiling of Embraer’s new eVTOL it has been developing in partnership with Uber. Embraer’s home country of Brazil has one of world’s most-developed helicopter infrastructures, with São Paulo having the largest concentration of helipads of any global city.