It’s been a rough year for pretty much everyone, but if your business model is dependent on people leaving their homes and sharing close quarters with strangers, things are particularly grim.
That’s certainly the case with Uber. The ride-hailing giant never turned much of a profit to begin with, but the pandemic and its related shutdowns hammered the company’s bottom line — so they’ve had to make some tough decisions in recent days.
First, the company announced it would sell its self-driving vehicle arm to autonomous driving tech firm Aurora. One day later, Uber said it would sell off another one of its ambitious projects: its flying car division.
Joby Aviation, a California developer of a vertical-takeoff-and-landing aircraft, announced it would acquire Uber Elevate for an undisclosed amount. The deal includes a $75 million Uber investment in Joby, bringing the company’s total investment to $125 million, and the companies indicated they would integrate their respective apps to ensure “seamless integration” between future air and ground mobility.
Uber officials said the deal would make Joby’s “transformational mobility solution” available to its users once its flying car takes to the air — targeted for 2023. Perhaps more importantly for Uber, however, it also takes hundreds of millions in looming air taxi R&D costs off the table.