The Strategist

Uber will change from cars to Ubercopters

06/14/2016 - 16:41

Uber decided to introduce a helicopter taxi service to its Brazilian customers. The experiment will begin in the city of São Paulo, known for its many kilometers-long traffic jams.

Uber’s clients in the Brazilian city of Sao Paulo, known for its many kilometers of traffic jams, will be able to take a helicopter taxi, according to Reuters. Sao Paulo will be the first city in the world to test new Uber’s service. 

The flights will be performed by three companies, having helicopter fleet at their disposal.

The new type of taxi is available via the mobile application every day from 7.00 am to 20.00. Preferential price, which will be valid for two days, offers a minimum order of $ 19 for a place. Later, the cost will rise. On average, travelling by helicopter will be four times faster than by its terrestrial counterpart, as much more expensive. For example, a discounted flight from Blue Tree Hotel to Guarulhos airport will be worth 271 Real ($ 78), and will takes13 minutes. Traffic jams on the ground would consume up to 3 hours on this way.

The pilot project will last one month.

Earlier, Uber has already experimented with the helicopter services to travel to music festivals Coachella and Bonnaroo. A flight from the nearest American airports to the events then was worth $ 3 thousand (the price is for the whole helicopter).

Reuters notes that Cabify company, Uber’s Spanish competitor, on Monday began to work in São Paulo. The company is in talks with three helicopter companies to the end of the year; its main goal is to offer helicopter rides to its clients, as it does in Mexico.

Uber first tested a helicopter service UberChopper in 2013. Helicopters were available during various activities, cost per flight ranged from several hundred to several thousand dollars. 

The company is always eager to try something new. Earlier, Pittsburgh, the second largest city of Pennsylvania became a platform for a large-scale experiment, launched by Uber’s engineers. Pittsburgh’s citizens will get an unmanned taxi - Ford Fusion cars, equipped with dozens of sensors, including radar, laser scanners and high resolution camera. Nevertheless, the cars will still be supervised by men on the driver's seats. They will have one job – to take the steering wheel over if the car suddenly goes out of control.

According to Uber engineers, Pittsburgh is an ideal place to develop and test the autopilot. There are different types of roads, complex patterns of movement, and the weather varied than in sunny California. The local authorities welcomed the test. Mayor of Pittsburgh, in particular, is sure that the unmanned taxis would improve safety and help reduce number of traffic jams.