Airbus has supplied Uber with helicopters in a deal for a new test project.
In 2013, Uber started offering helicopter rides in select locations as somewhat of a novelty. However, a new deal with Airbus may hint that the rideshare company has bigger ideas in mind when it comes to commercializing helicopter transit. Now, Uber has struck an agreement with Airbus, and will be using their helicopters in a test project that will launch in the next few weeks. Tom Enders, Chief Executive at Airbus, told the Wall Street Journal in an interview that "It's a pilot project, we'll see where it goes—but it's pretty exciting."
Uber is in a strong position at the outset of 2016, having just celebrated its billionth ride, giving the company considerable room for experimentation. Neither Uber nor Airbus have released any financial details about their deal. While currently, a helicopter ride from their select available locations can cost a user several thousand dollars, this deal may put an end to those prices, and bring helicopter transit into a more commercial market. According to Enders, Uber will begin testing Airbus helicopters at the Sundance Film Festival starting on January 22. Aside from standard cars and some few helicopters, so far Uber has also expanded its services to boat rides in Turkey, and rickshaw rides in India. Few additional details about the final scope of the helicopter test or its scalable goals are known at this time.
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