On Thursday, Uber Elevate finalized the list of potential international locations for its third city of operations of UberAIR. It includes Japan, Brazil, France, Australia, or India.
Uber Elevate confirmed last year that its first two cities would be Los Angeles, California, and Houston, Texas. It also announced that it would enter in one international city. On Thursday, Uber shortened the list of potential countries down to five: Japan, Brazil, France, Australia, or India. UberAIR originally meant to operate in Dubai as its third city, but Dubai changed its plans.
Last February, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi met with the Union Minister of State for Aviation for India, Jayant Sinha. In this meeting, Sinha stressed the need for flying cars in India, and presented Uber with a case for the large consumer base. UberAIR in India would service Mumbai, Delhi, or Bangalore.
This Monday, India released its ‘Drone Regulations 1.0’ last Monday, just one day before Uber’s Business Officer for Emerging Markets, Madhu Kannan, confirmed India as a potential country for UberAIR. While the ‘Drone Regulations 1.0’ do not specifically allow for e-commerce companies to deliver by drone, it launches India’s ‘Digital Sky Platform’. The Digital Sky Platform is similar to NASA’s UAM software. It is an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle management software that will create a ‘digital highway’ system for drones, allowing users to submit flight plans and understand where they can fly.
Why it’s Important: Uber’s naming of five cities as potential launch locations inspires competition among the cities to prepare for flying cars. This means that even those countries Uber does not choose will be ready for flying cars sooner rather than later. UberAIR may come into those countries next after its third city, or another operator may have a chance to enter. Either way, flying cars are coming to the international community soon.