For its next act, Uber wants to use its cloud-based platform to manage everything about how we get around — on roads and sidewalks, underground and aloft, Axios autonomous vehicles expert Joann Muller writes from Detroit.
- Why it matters: Like Amazon, which started selling books online and now delivers almost everything right to your door, Uber aims to leverage its digital expertise from ride-hailing to become a one-stop shop for transportation.
- Here's how CEO Dara Khosrowshahi described the grand vision last week in Washington at the Uber Elevate Summit: "We don't just want to be the Amazon of transportation, but also the Google of transportation."
In Uber's view of the future, you'd use the Uber app to punch in your destination — JFK airport, for example — and you'd be offered multiple options for the journey, each with an estimated time of arrival and different price.
- You could take an inexpensive Uber Pool or Uber X, the app might say — but with current traffic, expect it to take up to two hours.
- Or you could hail an Uber car to a downtown skyport, then board an air taxi that will zip you over the congested freeway to JFK, saving time but doubling your fare.
- You'd select the option that suits your schedule or budget, and it would all be stitched together into a one-click transaction.
Starting with scooters and e-bikes, the pieces of that personal mobility vision are beginning to come together.
- Next month, Uber will launch piloted helicopter service between lower Manhattan and JFK for around $200, about the cost of a premium Uber Black car ride.
- It's a precursor to Uber Air, the name for its planned flying taxi network that is set to start trials next year in Dallas, Los Angeles, and Melbourne, Australia.
- In Boston and Denver, Uber has integrated real-time public transit information into its app, with the goal of allowing people to purchase bus or train tickets through Uber.
Business transportation is another growth opportunity, like restaurants that deliver meals using Uber Eats, or health care agencies that hire Uber Health to provide rides for patients.
- Uber Freight aims to make logistics more efficient by matching shippers with carriers the way it pairs ride-hailing customers with drivers.